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309 Gostwick's (J.) German Literature, 
post 8vo, cloth, 50c, Edinburgh, 1849. 

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The objcct of the present volume is to give, in a concise and populär 
form, a general view of the Literature of the German people from 
the earliest to the latest times. Though the study of this literature 
has rapidly advanced during late years in England and Scotland, it 
has been confined chiefly to the works of a few modern authors. 
Many readers may still inquire concerning the characteristics of 
writers before the time of Herder, Goethe, and Schiller. We em- 
ploy every day, in our household language, the words of the oldest 
Teutonic or German ballad-singers who sang of the exploits of Tuisco 
before the Christian era; the words into which Bishop Ulphilas 
translated the Bible for the Goths of the fourth Century ; and which 
were afterwards employed by the writer of the old epic poem, ' The 
Nibelungen-Lied,' and the minstrels of the time of Frederick II. : 
yet our schoolboys can give a better account of our longest Com- 
pound words, derived from Greek and Latin roots, than of the most 
simple and familiär which form the staple of all our ordinary con- 
versation, and which give energy and beauty to our most populär 
literature. It is hoped that this little work may serve in some 
degree to direct attention to the language and other characteristics 
of our Teutonic forefathers. 

Though many critical remarks may be found in the following 
pages, the character of the book was intended to be chiefly descrip- 
tive, and for this purpose numerous specimens of authors have been 
introduced. In the translation of these extracts, a Condensed style 
has been employed. It is well known that diffuseness is the pre- 
vailing fault of many German authors. In specimens where con- 
siderable abridgment has been made, the marks .... refer to the 
omitted passages. Where the original style is marked by great 
simplicity, it has not been falsified by any attempted decorations. It 
may be added, that all the translations are entirely original. In a 
former work on German Literature, by the present author, a few 


cxceptions to tliis rule were admitted, and consequently the wliole 
voluine was erroneously described by some reviewers as a 'com- 
pilation.' AVith a view to reference, great care lias been taken to 
insure accuracy in the printing of names and dates. 

While we hardly need say that the opinions offered on the merits 
of various authors have been impartially formed, we readily admit 
that the general bias of a writer must in some degree be apparent 
in every book. In the present case, it will be seen that all the 
characteristic faults of German literature are freely acknowledged, 
and sometimes censured ; while we have endeavoured to show that 
amid all these defects there is a störe of valuable ideas and ten- 
dencies of mind of vast importance in the present age, when the 
intellectual productions of various nations are so freely inter- 

J. G. 

September 1849. 




FIRST PERIOD.— from 360 to 1150, 10 

SECOND PERIOD.—from 1150 to 1300, .... 17 





THIRD PERIOD.—from 1300 to 1517, 51 


PROSE, 58 

FOURTH PERIOD.—from 1517 to 1624, .... 64 



PROSE, 74 

FIFTH PERIOD.—from 1624 to 1720, 90 



PROSE, 99 

SIXTH PERIOD.—from 1720 to 1770, 110 

POETRY, 110 




SEVENTH PERIOD.—from 1770 to 1848, . . . .154 

POETRY, 157 







PHILOSOPHY, ........ 266 





INDEX, 319 



Central Europe, from the Adriatic to the Baltic, is occupied 
by a people, who, however divided politically into states, form 
socially, and as respects race and language, but one nation. The 
name Germans, which we assign to this great people, is that given 
to themby the Komans : the distinctive appellation which they apply 
to themselves is Deutsch, a term derived from Teutones, by which 
they were generally known, as also by the name Goths, in the 
early history of Europe. A section of this Teutonic or Gothic 
people from Saxony settled in England, and hence an afimity 
between the speech of the English and their German ancestors. 

Some words in the language of the Germans are traced to the 
Sanscrit, one of the most ancient forms of speech, from which it is 
reasonable to conclude that the Teutones have an eastern origin. 
In its vast prolificness of words, however, in its independence of 
Greek and Latin, or any modern tongue, and what may be called 
its bold originality, the German language is exceedingly remark- 
able. French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, are all broken dialects 
of the Latin ; English is a Compound of Latin and Anglo-Saxon, 
with modern draughts from Greek and French. The German is 
one and indivisible ; excepting for its remote connection with the 
ancient Sanscrit, and for certain mediseval improvements, it might 
be called, as it Stands, a purely original tongue. It is of the lite- 
rature — the written thoughts — of the great people who speak this 
language that we now propose to treat — a literature which has 
become one of the most varied and extensive in Europe. 

The History of German Literature may be conveniently divided 
into Seven Periods. The first, extending from A. D. 360 to 1150, 
includes all the remains of the Gothic Language and the Old 



High-Gcrman Dialect. The secoud (1150-1300) contains the 
romances and other poems of the Age of Chivalry, which were 
written in the Middle High-German Dialect. The third period, 
including the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (1300-1517), was 
chiefly remarkable for the populär and satirical versilication which 
it produced. The time from 1517 to 1624 may be styled the 
Lutheran Era, and was chiefly occupied with ecclesiastical con- 
troversies. It was followed by a period of great dulness in litera- 
ture, extending from 1624 to 1720. In the eighteenth Century, or 
in the time between 1720 and 1770, many writers improved the 
tone of literature, though they displayed no great and original 
genius. Lastly, the seventh period, extending from 1770, or the 
time of Herder, to the present day, includes the voluminous 
modern literature of Germany. 

It would have been inconvenient, in this short and unpretending 
treatise, to have referred to all the authorities which have been 
consulted. In a majority of instances critical opinions of authors 
have been founded on an entire or partial perusal of their writ- 
ings ; while among the secondary authorities to whom this little 
book is indebted, Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Wackernagel, George 
Gottfried Gervinus, and Gustavus Schwab, may be named. 


FROM 360 TO 1150. 

Ulphilas (bona in 310, died in 388), the bishop of the Western 
Goths, translated the greater part of the Scriptures into the 
Gothic Language between the years 360 and 380. It is said 
that he omitted the books of Kings, because he feared that their 
accounts of wars would sthnulate the martial spirit of the Germans 
or Goths. A considerable portion of this translation remains in 
the present day, as a solitary and invaluable relic of the Ancient 
Gothic Language. This book teils indeed a wondrous tale of the 
world's history. Seventeen hundred years ago, when the Roman 
world was falling into decay, a rude and primitive people were 
living amid the forests, mountains, and marshes of the north of 
Europe. Durmg peace, they were engaged in hunting deer, bisons, 
and wild boars ; but war was their favourite occupation. Yet 
their barbarous condition was attended by such virtues as pre- 
pared them to become the founders of a new world. They pos- 
sessed health, vigour, and great powers of endurance in body and 



miiid. Thcir religion was a worship of nature ; yct they were 
destined to spread the doctrine of Christianity over the world.. 
They had no literature, but the hours of peace were sometimes 
employed in the recital of rüde songs of battle ; and these old 
bailads contained the primitive words of languages which have 
spread their literature over the whole of the modern civilised 
world. The same root-words which were employed, before the 
Christian era, to celebrate the exploits of the German deity Tuisco, 
are now spoken by millions of civilised men, from the boundaries 
of Austria to the western shores of North America. For the 
clearest evidence of this great fact we depend on the work of 
Bishop Ulphilas. 

The history of the preservation of this venerable relic is curious. 
After the ninth Century, it disappeared from the field of history, 
leaving no trace of its existence, excepting in the pages of some 
Greek ecclesiastical writers, who preserved the fact, that ' Ulphilas, 
a Gothic bishop, had translated the Scriptures in the fourth Cen- 
tury. 1 At the close of the sixteenth Century, Arnold Mercator, 
the geometer, heard a rumour of a very old and unintelligible 
version of the four Gospels which had been preserved in an abbey. 
The rumour was confirmed, and this portion of the work of Ul- 
philas emerged into light after a burial of six centuries. It was 
then preserved at Prague, until the city was taken by Count 
Königsmark in 1648, when the relic was removed to Sweden. 
Here it was bound in massive silver, and preserved at Upsal. In 
1818, another part of the work, containing the Epistles of St Paul, 
was discovered in a monastery in Lombardy. 

The language employed by Ulphilas was not a poor and bar- 
barous dialect, but possessed copiousness and versatility. Many 
interesting philological speculations are suggested by the study 
of this mother tongue. An English reader may observe the Gothic 
roots of some of our most simple and indispensable words — such as, 
landa (land), nahts (night), qvath (quoth), baürg (burgh, a town), 
tdikns (token), Goth (God), hduhistjam (highest), mannam (men), 
godis (good), viljins' (will) — in the following short passage :— 


8. Jah hairdjös v£sun in thamma samin landa thairhvakandans 
jäh vitandans vahtvöm nahts ufar hairdäi semäi. 9. Ith aggilug 
fräujins anaqvam ins, jah viüthus fräujins biskäin Ins, jah ohtedun 
agisa mikilamma. 10. Jah qvath du im sa aggilus 'ni ögeith, unt6 
säi spillö izvis faheld mikila, sei vairthith alläi managein ; 11. thatel 
gabaüran ist izvis himmao?a#a nasjands, sael Ist Christus fräuja In 
baürg Daveldis. 12. Jah thata Izvis tdikns : bigitith barn bivundan 
jah galagith in uzetin'. 13. Jah anaks varth mit thamma aggilaü 
managet harjis himinakundis hazjandane Goth jah qvithandane : 14. 



'Vulthus in hduliistjam Gotha, jah ana airthäi gavairthi, in mannain 
godis vi!jins\* 

This language appears to have been understood down to the 
nintli Century, when we find it metamorphosed into that dialect 
which has been styled tlie Old High-German, in which Otfried, a 
monk, wrote a 1 Gospel Harmony,' or ' Life of Christ,' A. d. 863. 
It may be noticed that this was the first German work composed 
in rhyme. Another metrical version of the Gospel narrative was 
written during the ninth Century, in the Low-Saxon Dialect, 
mider the patronage of Louis the Pious. These two works, which 
have been preserved, are most valuable specimens of the formation 
of Teutonic dialects. Notker, a monk, who died in 1022, trans- 
lated the Psalms of David. His version of the first psalm may 
serve as a specimen of the Old High-German : — 

Psalm I. 

1. Der man ist sälig, der in dero argön rat ne gegieng, noh an dero 
sundigön uxibge ne stuont, noh an denio suhtstuole ne saz; 2. mibe der 
ist sälig, tes uuillo an Gotes eo ist, unde der dara ana denchct tag 
linde naht. 3. Unde der gediehet also uuola so der boum, der bt 
demo rinnenten uuazere gesezzet ist, der zitigo sinen uuuocher gibet, 
noh sin loub ne riset, unde framdiuhent alliu diu der boum biret 
unde bringet. 4. So uuola ne gedieh ent aber die argon ; sone 
diehent sie ; nube sie zefarent also daz stuppe dero erdo, daz ter 
uuint fe'ruuahet. 5. Pediu ne erstftnt arge ze* dero urteilido ; noh 
sundige ne sizzent danne in demo rate dero rehtön. 

In this extract we may easily recognise the roots man (man), 
gegieng (going), noh (nor), sundigön uuege (sinners' way), suhtstuole 
(sitting-stool), saz (sat), uuillo (will), Gotes (God), denchet tag unde 
naht (thinks, day and night), rinnenten uuazere (runnmg waters). 

Even a modern German, who had paid no attention to the old 
dialects, would find little dimculty in understandmg the above 
version. In the twelfth Century, we find another transition-dialect, 
styled the Middle High-German, in which the 1 Nibelungen-Lied ' 
was written. This dialect was gradually changed in the thirteenth, 
fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, until Luther, by his transla- 
tion of the Bible, established the Modern German Language. 

As already stated, one of the strikmg characteristics which this 
language has preserved in all ages is its originality or independence. 
Instead of borrowing wordsfrom the Greek, the Latin, and other lan- 
guages, to find expressions for new combinations of ideas, it has de- 
veloped its own resources by manifold compositions of its own root- 
words andparticles. Consequentlyit is aself-explaining language; so 

* Translation. — 1 And thcre wcre in the same countr}' shepherds, abiding in the 
ficlds, kceping watch over their flock by night.* See Luke ii. 8 — 14. 



tliat tlie modern German, who has liad no classical education, ean casily 
trace the etymological formation of the longest Compound words 
whicli he employs. The Englishman, in order to express one idea 
in its various modifications, employs Teutonic, Greek, and Latin 
roots, while the German unfolds all the varieties of the same idea 
by a series of compositive words foimded lipon one Gothic or 
Teutonic root. If we take a series of some twenty English words, 
all related to the same subject, we may find that, to explain their 
etymology, we require a knowledge of almost as many distinct 
roots, while the corresponding series of German words Springs 
from one root. Thus we have a Gothic name of the Supreme 
Being, and another Gothic root to leam or lore ; but we cannot 
unite these two roots so as to express that idea of religious know- 
ledge which is conveyed by the use of tvro Greek roots in the 
word theology. This contrast may be observed throughout the 
whole history of the two languages. The German language, there- 
fore, while it is far superior to our own in originality and flexibi- 
lity, does not admit the wide varieties whicli may be found be- 
tween some English authors who have cultivated a Latinised dic- 
tion, like Gibbon and Johnson, and others who have adhered 
chiefly to Saxon phraseology, like Dean Swift and Bunyan.* 

The literary remains of this ancient period are, as we have seen, 
rieh in philological interest ; but they give only scanty glimpses 
of the characteristics of their times. Yet we must not suppose 
that the monks, who were the chief writers of this period, were 
generally idle in literature. A great part of their time was spent 
in copying Latin books on religion. Düring the reign cf Charle- 
magne (768-814), and that of bis son, Louis the Pious, which 
extended to 840, about one hundred writers of Latin rlourished ; 
but the Teutonic dialects were generally neglected by ecclesiastics. 
Otfried the monk, who has been mentioned as the author of a 
l Life of Christ ' in German rhymes, complains of the neglect with 

* Thi3 distinetion between the English and the German formations of language 
may be made piain to young readers by the following literal translation of a passage 
in Jacob Grimm 's German Grammar .- — ' Meanwhile it now stoocl before my eyes 
that witkout the Gothic tongue, as a groundwork, nothing eoulcl be done well ; and 
also that even the knitting together of the tongue spoken by the High-Deutsch poets of 
the thirteenth hundred t/ears and that spoken to-day must fail, if the inflowings cf 
the Lower- Deutsch ica]i ofspeaking were not thought of in my plan.' 

Another version of the same sentence may show that several Latin words are re- 
quired to give its meaning in modern English : — ' Meanwhile I pereeived plainly that 
I could not well execute my design without respect to the Gothic language as a foun- 
dation i and also that I eould not fairly explain the connection between our present 
language and that employed by the High-German poets of the thirteenth emiury, if 
I neglected to take into consideration the inßuences of the Lower-German language.' 
All the simple and indispensable words, such as ' father,' 4 mother,' ' brother,' 
'house,' 'home,' ' bread,' 'water,' which form the basis of the English language, 
are Teutonic. As several Swiss writers will be mentioned in this treatise, we may 
observe that Switzerland was originaUy a German country, though now the French 
language is spoken on its borders. 



which the vernacular language was treated, and says, 1 Sorae 
scholars call this language coarse and boorish, but they will not 
endeavour to cultivate it. Wlien they write Latin or Greek, they 
take care even of particles ; but if they ever condcscend to write 
German, they write randomly, and care nothing about the greatest 
mistakes.' In fact the vernacular dialects were only used in the 
intercourse of common life, and all who possessed literary ambi- 
tion were engaged in writing Latin. This fact serves to explain 
the poverty of German prose literature, even down to the period 
of the Reformation (1517). 

The literature of this ancient period consisted of the works of 
the monks and a few populär ballads, which give us some indi- 
cation of the character of such productions before the Christian 
era. Tacitus informs us that the Germans celebrated in songs 
the god Tuisco and Iiis son Mann, and mentions also their battle- 
songs, which were rudely chanted before engagemeiits. We have 
not, however, any evidence that the culture of poetry was under 
the care of any select class of bards or priests, as it was among 
the Celtic tribes. If we had no direct evidence of the nature of 
the ballads mentioned by Tacitus, we might still fairly conclude, 
that among a people divided into many tribes, and often engaged 
in conflicts, the only poetry would be such as chronicled the 
names and exploits of celebrated chieftains. But some specimens 
of the ancient ballads have been preserved. One of these teils 
the adventures of Hildebrand and Ms Son Hadubrand. It was 
found written upon the blank pages of a religious book of the 
ninth Century ; and its reduction to this written form appears to 
have been the work of two monks, who found it necessary thus 
to study old legends in order to gain an acquaintance with the 
use of vernacular dialects. In this rude ballad, the father, Hilde- 
brand, returns to Iiis home after an absence of sixty years, and 
recognises a warlike man, Hadubrand. as Iiis son. But the son 
refuses to acknowledge Iiis father ; a quarrel ensues, and a violent 
duel is the result. This ballad is a fragment, and breaks off, 
leaving the father and Iiis son in the heat of their contest. In 
another ballad, of Walter of Aquitaine, we find strong marks of a 
barbarous age. Several heroes, after a battle, sit down and jest 
about the wounds which they have received. A third remnant 
of this early period is the tale of ' Beowulf,' which belongs to the 
history of English literature, and is well known by students of the 
Anglo-Saxon dialect. The partial clestruction of the oldest tradi- 
tions of the Teutonic tribes may be assigned to two causes. The 
first we find in the migrations and conflicts of these tribes which 
attended the fall of the Roman Empire. These great movements, 
which extended over five centuries, were sufricieiitly important to 



tlirow into oblivion all the comparatively insignificant records 
of old ballads. The Goths, who had entered Korne with Alaric, 
and had witnessed the wonders of Iiis career, naturally forgot the 
old tales of battles with whieh they had amused their leisure in 
their native forests ; for the realities which they had seen were 
more wonderful and impressive than all their ancient legends. 
A second cause of the loss of the old ballads may be found in 
the influence of the Church. Bishop Ulphilas and many monks 
zealously endeavoured to put Christian traditions in tlie place of 
tales of battles. In a later period, we find the Emperor Charle- 
magne collecting and preserving these Teutonic tales ; but Iiis 
son, Louis the Pious, who was devoutly attached to the Christiaa 
religion, again consigned them to neglect. Yet it is not probable 
that they were entirely forgotten. We may reasonably suppose 
that they were still sometimes recited at the courts of princes, as 
well as in the cottages of the people ; and that thus they were 
preserved, at least in fragments, until they were reproduced in the 
form of the 'Nibelungen-Lied' by some unknown writer in the 
twelfth or the thirteenth Century. 

The Emperor Charlemagne was the greatest patron of literature 
during these times. He chose as his friends such men as the his- 
torian Eginhard, and the learned Englishman Alcuin; and not 
only encouraged learned men, but also recommended the spread 
of knowledge among the people. As an instance of this, he com- 
manded the monks to preach, or at least to read sermons, in the 
vernacular dialects of Germany. His zeal in the Service of lite- 
rature is shown by the fact, that even in advanced age he occu- 
pied himself during the sleepless hours of night in endeavouring 
to acquire the art of writing. 

The prose written by the monks does not claim any particular 
notice, as it was neither original nor national, but consisted chiefly 
in versions and compilations of prayers, hymns, and sermons. 
A curious version of a Latin book on the nature of animals has 
been preserved. It was written in the eleventh Century, and is 
füll of fabulous accounts of ' sirens,' ' mermaids,' and other imagi- 
nary creatures. The most important works of the monks are those 
upon which we depend for our historical knowledge of this period. 
Gregory, bishop of Tours, who died in 595, was the principal 
historian of his times. The monk Jordanis, a Goth, who lived 
about the middle of the sixth Century, wrote a ' History of the 
Goths ; ' and Paul, another monk, wrote a ' History of the Lon- 
gobards.' Eginhard wrote a ' Life of Charlemagne,' which con- 
tains many interesting notices ; and Theganus, bishop of Treves, 
wrote the 1 Life of Louis the Pious.' These few Latin works are 
mentioned here as spccimens of many similar productions of mo- 



nastic historians, and because they may serve to explain the 
late development of a German prose style. 

"We may, in conclusion, remark, that this period was generally 
marked by the gradual prevalence of Christianity, as expounded 
by the monks, over the traditions of the German tribes. Düring 
these ages, two opposed elements — the martial spirit of old Ger- 
many, and the pacific doctrme of Christianity — were living to- 
gether; elements which, we might suppose, could never unite : yet 
we shall find their nnion accomplished in the subsequent era of 
the Crusades, when the influence of Christianity, mingled 
with romance and a martial spirit, gave to chivalry its peculiar 

Next to Ulphilas, if any name in this early period deserves to 
be remembered, it is that of the monk Otfried, who wrote the 
narrative of Christianity in a style adapted well to the wants of 
the people. If this important example had been generally fol- 
lowed, the progress of German civilisation and literature would in 
all probability have been more steady and satisfactoiy than that 
which we have to describe. But even in this earliest period we 
find the beginning of that Separation of learned men from the 
general sympathies of the people, which was more remarkable in 
a later period. Literature was regarded rather as a world in 
itself than in its relation to the real world. Scholars, proud of 
their enlightenment, concentrated it in monastic cells. Learned 
men studied and wrote for their compeers, rather than for the 
people. While the uneducated hardly understood the simplest 
rudiments of moral truth, the scholastic divines of the middle ages 
multiplied subtleties, and exercised their intellects in the finest 
distinctions of doctrine. A barrier of language was raised between 
these two classes. Latin was the language of all respectable lite- 
rature for some centuries. The romances and other poems pro- 
duced during the age of chivalry form exceptions to the rule ; but 
it was maintained, on the whole, so strictly, that even at the close 
of the seventeenth Century the prejudices of the middle ages 
remained, and the German language was then only beginning to 
assert its capabilities as a vehicle of elegant and refined literature. 
These remarks may prepare the reader to meet with intellectual 
barrenness in some of the following periods. 


This period begins with. the reign of Frederick L, or Bar- 
barossa, and extends some few years beyond the death of Ku- 
dolphus I. of Hapsburg, or almost to the time of William Teil. 
We cannot estimate fairly the literary remains of these times 
without some notice of their general characteristics. To under- 
stand the singular romances of the period, we must refer to the 
order of chivalry from which they arose ; and to give due praise 
to the didactic writings which inculcated pure moral doctrine, we 
must know something of the gross ignörance and superstition of 
the times to which they were opposecl. Though the literary 
remains of this period are numerous, we are surprised when we 
observe the poverty of its literature, as contrasted with its poli- 
tical and social events. This portion of the middle ages, which, 
if judged by the poetry which it produced, might be regarded as 
dull and monotonous, was in reality füll of the stir and enterprise 
of life. The public measures of Henry L had encouraged the 
growth of cities and the progress of civilisation. The Crusades 
filled Germany with religious and martial excitement. The order 
of chivalry was in the height of its lustre. Frederick EL, of 
the Hohenstaufen dynasty, flourished as a patron of science, lite- 
rature, and the fine arts. The grand specimens of Gothic archi- 
tecture produced during this period — such cathedrals as we see 
at Ulm, Strasburg, and Cologne — speak of great ideas, and great 
powers called into exercise to fulfil them. These works in stone, 
which reduced piles of ponderous matter to forms of beauty, may 
indeed be regarded as the great poems of the period ; for, in con- 
trast with them, all the written poetry appears small and feeble. 
Men were now engaged rather in performing than in writmg 
romances, and realities became more wonderful than all the poet's 
fictions : it may be fairly added, that they were often more absurd. 
A German crusader of this time was as singular a mixture of 
opposite elements, and a creature of imagination as stränge as any 
that can be found in Ovid's ' Metamorphoses.' 

Men are seldom, like Caesar, at once the agents and the his- 
torians of great events ; and thus the social activity of these times 
may explain their literary poverty. The commercial wealth of 
Germany was now rapidly developed: thousands of serfs had 
become freemen: large cities were arising, and threatening the 



institutions of feudalism : mines had been discovered : a taste for 
luxury and oniament prevailed. iEneas Sylvius, afterwards 
Pope Pius IL, says of the riches of German cities in this tirae, 
' The kings of Scotland raight envy the State of the meaner 
Citizens of Nuremberg. Wliere is there a tavern among you where 
you do not drink out of silver ? Wliat married woman (I do not 
say of rank, but even the wife of a simple Citizen) do I find not 
decorated with gold ? And what shall I say of the neck-chains 
of the men, and the bridles of their horses, which are made of the 
purest gold ? Or of your spurs and scabbards, which are covered 
with jewels ? ' There was probably some exaggeration in this 
picture, but it was founded on facts. Now when we turn from 
reality to poetry, hoping to find here some vivid pictures of the 
life, adventure, and splendour of a remarkable era, we are dis- 
appointed. The monks, who were the literati of this period, lived 
in an ecclesiastical, rather than a real world ; and the knights who 
wrote romances were interested m the affairs of a fantastic world, 
the creature of their own invention. Consequently, for our histo- 
rical knowledge of this time we depend upon chronicles written in 
Latin, which cannot be noticed here as literary produetions. 

The German literature of the period may be conveniently 
divided into four sections : the first will contain the 1 Nibelungen- 
Lied' and other ballads of ancient times, which are collectively 
styled the ' Heldenbuch,' or ' Book of Heroes the secondclass will 
comprise all the romances of chivahy which were not of Ger- 
man origin, but derived from foreign traditions ; the collection of 
songs and other short poems styled the ' Lays of the Minnesingers ' 
will occupy the third section ; and the fourth may comprise all 
the comic, satirical, and didactic produetions of this period. All 
these writings are in verse. Prose forms an insignificant portion 
of German literature during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. 


Düring this period there was a wide difierence between the min- 
strelsy patronised by the nobility and the old ballads preserved 
by populär memory. Hence a remarkable contrast appeared in 
the twelfth or the thirteenth Century, when the ' Nibelungen-Lied' 
was reproduced by some writer or rhapsodist, whose name is 
unknown. It is not in any degree probable that this singular 
epic poem was an original work of this period ; but several cir- 
cumstances were favourable to its reproduetion in an improved 
form. As the minstrels and romancists had excited an interest in 

* Nibelungen, the name of an ancient royal race, who possessed great treasurea 
of gold and gems ; Lied, a ßong or bailad. 



the art of versification, the writer of the ' Nibelungen ' probably 
thought that the old ballads might be arranged in a new dress, 
and reduced to one epic poem. Accordingly, he collected them, 
and wrote connecting passages, which may easily be distinguished 
in some manuscripts. The 'Nibelungen-Lied' may therefore be 
regarded as a series of ballads belonging to several ages, but 
united so as to form one plot. We have good proofs of the 
antiquity of these ballads in the morals and manners which they 
describe. We find in them no vein of sentiment which can be 
callecl distinctively Christian, though the fact of heroes attending 
mass in a cathedral is now and then mentioned. Feudal loyalty 
and martial courage were the great virtues of these heroes. The 
poem contains a tale of revenge ; but all the plot turns on the 
principle of loyalty, in obedience to which thousands lost their 
lives in a quarrel which had at first involved only two or three 
leading characters. Though this singular poem contains many 
traits of a warlike age, and closes with terrible scenes of carnage, 
it displays hardly a trace of such a motive as personal hatred, 
except in the character of the heroine. 

Several other national traditions were reproduced about the 
time of the reappearance of the tale of the 1 Nibelungen,' to which 
they are all related, as the Greek dramas are to the Iliad. One 
of these legends is entitled ' Gudrun,' and is marked by simple and 
graphic accounts of the times to which it refers. The ' Expedition 
of Ecken,' the tale of ' King Laurin,' and another poem entitled 
' Rosengarten,' might claim some notice here; but instead of giving 
fragmentary specimens of these and similar legends, we prefer to 
give a short summary of the ' Nibelungen-Lied.' This epic poem 
teils the following tale : — 

In the old times there lived, in the land of the ancient Burgun- 
dians, at the Castle of Worms on the Rhina, a princess of wonder- 
ful beauty named Kriemhilde. In another Castle, lower situated 
on the same river, there flourished a brave young prince named 
Siegfried. His fame was widely spread, for he had slain a 
dragon, had overcome in battle the race of the Nibelungen, and 
had taken away their vast treasure of gold and gems. It was also 
reported that he was invulnerable, excepting in one spot between 
his Shoulders. This prince went to Worms to win the hand of 
the princess. Here he was received hospitably, and was enter- 
tained with martial games and spectacles ; but a year passed away 
before he was allowed to see the princess : — 

* The ladies of King Günther's court inquired the hero's name, 
And whence the bold and noble knight, and why he hither came, 
So beautiful in person, and so splendid in array — 
" 'Tis the hero of the Netherlands," the gallant courtiers say. 




At every game and spectacle the hero was displayed, 

Who carried in Iiis heart the iniage of the maid ; 

And the maiden, still unseen, though he came her love to win, 

Had kindly thoughts for him her secret bosom in. 

For when, within the court, the knights and squires would play, 
With lances, spears, and swords, in battle-like array, 
Kriemhilde, through her window, would watch the pastime long ; 
No better pastime needed she if he was in the throng ! 

And had he known that she whom he carried in his breast 
Was looking frora her window, and marked him from the rest, 
Or had he met her eye there, I verily believe 
He would have been as happy as a man may be and live ! ' 

At the end of the year the hero recommended himself to the 
Burgimdian king by vanquishing a formidable enemy. After this 
exploit, he was introduced to Kriemhilde : — 

* She came out from her Chamber ; so comes the morning red 
Förth from the gloomy clouds ; upon her dress were spread 
Bright gems ; her glowing cheeks her secret love confessed ; 

. Of all the maids on earth she the fairest was and best. 

For as among the stars the füll moon clearly gleams 
And scatters every cloud with her bright and silver beams, 
So 'mid the other ladies Kriemhilde's beauty shone ; 
The hearts of many heroes beat high as they looked on. 

The chamberlains before her walked, in costly garments dressed, 

To see the lovely maiden the warriors onward pressed ; 

As Siegfried stood expecting to look upon her face, 

By turns, despair and love found within his bosom place. 

Thus said he to himself—" How could I ever deem 

That I could win the maid ? — 'twas but an idle dream ; 

But if I cannot win her, then I were better dead." 

And with his thoughts his cheeks by turns were pale and red. 

The servants found the hero bold, Siegfried of Netherland, 
And bade him boldly come in front of all the warriors' band ; 
" King Günther to his presence is pleased to summon you, 
That his sister may salute you, and give the honour due." 

His soul rose high within him when he saw Kriemhilde there, 
And rosy flushed his cheeks as spoke the maiden fair ; 
" I bid you welcome, Siegfried, a warrior good and brave !" 
The kindly salutation new strength and courage gave. 

To thank her for her kindness the hero bowed his head, 
And all that he had longed to say was in a moment said ; 
For, as he bowed his head, a stolen glance was cast, 
And suddenly from eye to eye the tender secret passed. 



In all the summer season, or the pleasant month of May, 
He never had such pleasure as on that happy day — ■ 
When he walked beside the maiden whom he came to make Iiis 

"When Kriemhilde whom he loved was Walking by his side ! ' 

After this introduction, the hero performed another Service for 
King Günther, by winning for him the hand of a powerful queen 
named Brunhilde. There is something of obscurity in this part 
of the poem, which allows us to suppose that Siegfried had, by 
his Services to the king, offended the pride of Brunhilde, now queen 
of Burgundy. Whatever the first cause of displeasure may have 
been, the queen expressed her enmity against Siegfried soon after 
his marriage with the Princess Kriemhilde; but some years passed 
away before this ill-will produced open dissension in the court of 
Burgundy : — 

i The two queens sat together at the vesper hour of day, 
And watched the warriors in the court engaged in martial play; 
Then said Kriemhilde, the beautiful, " If Siegfried had his right. 
All the people of this kingdom should be subject to his might." . 

But then spoke out Queen Brunhilde, " Why say you such a thing? 
If none but you and he were living, then he might be king ; 
But long as lives King Günther it shall never be, 
But Siegfried must be vassal to the court of Burgundy." 

And then again said Kriemhilde, " But do you see him stand ? 

Not one so stately there amid all your warriors' band : 

He steps before them all, as the moon in füll array 

Stands in front of all the stars ; and his beauty makes me gay." 

And thus replied Queen Brunhilde, " However brave and fair, 
He cannot, for a moment, with the king himself compare : 
To the king, your noble brother, give the highest honour due ; 
He ranks above all other kings, and that you know is true !'" 

The quarrel thus begun between the two queens was carried to 
such an extremity, that Brunhilde secretly determined that Siegfried 
must die. She therefore made an appeal to the loyalty of Hagen, 
the most notable hero under the king. This hero undertook to 
revenge the insult which he believed the queen had suffered, and 
in order to prove his loyalty he practised treachery. Having 
professed an intention to defend the life of Siegfried in an ap- 
proaching battle, he persuaded Kriemhilde to mark the vulnerable 
spot on her husband's coat. 1 Thus, 1 said he, 1 1 shall know how 
to protect him when he is in danger.' Kriemhilde trusts in the 
good intentions of her uncle, Hagen, and fixes the mark upon 
Siegfried's coat. Soon afterwards, King Günther, with Hagen, 



Siegfried, and other followers, goes to huiit wild boars in a forest. 
Kriemhilde had a foreboding of evil, and intreated the hero not to 
join in the chase : — 

* Then said the hero Siegfried, a Kriemhilde, do not mourn ; 
No evil thing shall happen nie, and soon I will return ; 
Of eneraies about the court I know not I have one ; 
Tour brother owes nie kindness Bure for all that I have done !" 

But then again said Kriemhilde, " Oh, Siegfried, keep away ! 
I had another dream just before I woke to-day : 
Tvvo rocks feil down upon you as you walked along the vale, 
And hid you from my sight as I woke, with weeping, pale." 

Then Siegfried folded closely Kriemhilde in Iiis arms, 

And kissed her many times, to banish her alarms ; 

Till she gave him leave to go ; then he hastened to the chase — 

But never more saw Kriemhilde her husband's living face !' 

After slaying several wild animals, the heroes went together to 
slake their thirst at a spring in the forest, and here Siegfried was 
ireacherously slain : — 

' The spring was clear, and cool, and sweet : King Günther stooped 
to drink 

Beside the hero Siegfried, who kneeled upon the brink ; 
And when the king had quenched bis thirst, he rose and stood 

But Siegfried, while he bowed bis head, by Hagen's band Avas slain. 

First, Hagen took the hero's bow and falchion from bis side, 
And carried them away 'mid the forest leaves to hide ; 
Then, with javelin in hand, he looked upon the coat 
Where the fatal spot icas marked, and then suddenly he smote.' 

After this event, Kriemhilde lived in deep melancholyat Worms 
for thirteen years. Hagen, during this tinie, fearmg that, by her 
wealth, she might raise a powerful party on her side, carried aw r ay 
all her Nibelungen treasure, and buried it in the Rinne. At the 
end of the thirteen years, Etzel (or Attila), the king of the Huns, 
sent one of bis heroes, Rüdiger, into Burgundy to ask for the 
band of Siegfried's widow. After some deliberation, Kriemhilde 
resolved to take a second husband, in order to avenge the death of 
Siegfried. Her marriage with Etzel soon took place in the land 
of the Hirns, where it was accompanied with grcat pomp and 
festivity : — 

* King Etzel heard that Kriemhilde, in rieh and proud array, 
Accompanied by Büdiger, was hastening on her way ; 
Then he gathered soon around Ihm a brave and noble band, 
And rode to meet bis chosen queen in Austria's pleasant land. 


Before him rode gay companies of warriors brave and true, 
Who spoke in many languages ; to pay the homage duo 
To the queen of all the Huns, in a martial glittering throng, 
Christian knights and heathen warriors together rode along. 

Heroes were there from Greece; from Russia others camc; 
From Poland and Wallachia rode knights of noble fame ; 
Every knight led on bis followers, a bold and splendid band. 
And every one was dressed in the costume of Iiis land. 

There's a city on the Danube ; it Stands on Austrian ground ; 
Its ancient name is Tulna, and here the queen was found ; 
How little Kriemhilde thought, when the host of men caine nigh, 
That so many heroes for her sake would soon be doomed to die ! 

The vanguard of King Etzel first rode into the town ; 
Here were four-and-twenty heroes and princes of renown ; 
Rainung, duke of the Wallachians, pressed forward in the throng, 
And the mighty prince Gibecke led another host along. 

Hornbog, surnamed the Swift, soon hailed the noble dame ; 
Erom Denmark noble Hawart and fearless Iring came ; 
There was Irnfried of Thuringia, a great and noble man ; 
And now a shout of joy arose from every martial clan. 

For now rode on King Etzel (with Dietrich at Iiis side, 
And a countless host of followers) to greet Iiis chosen bride. 
Thus to herseif said Kriemhilde, when she saw the endless 
throng — 

"Tis well! I shall have warriors now who will avenge my 
wrong ! " 

Then to the queen spake Rüdiger : — " My lady, here we stay — ■ 
King Etzel comes ; of followers, lo ! what a vast array ! 
I will name to you the warriors most worthy of a kiss ; 
For you cannot give to all in a Company like this 1 " 

So saying, noble Rüdiger gave to the queen his hand, 
And from her steed she lighted down upon the Austrian land ; 
All the heroes stood aside, while through the glittering throng, 
To meet the beauteous Kriemhilde, King Etzel walked along. 

And now her veil is lifted, and her subjects all behold 

Her beauty shining out, as from a shrine of gold ; 

The beauty of her countenance a general pleasure spread : 

" Queen Heike was not fairer ! " all the Hunnish warriors said. 

When Etzel had saluted her, she turned, at Rüdiger's sign, 
And gave a kiss to Blödel, who was in the royal line ; 
And twelve most noble princes of such favour had a share ; 
But she looked with grace and kindness on all the heroes there. 



And now the king commanded, for die pleasure of Iiis bride, 
That o'er the piain of Tulna Iiis conipanies should ride ; 
Christian knights and lieathen warriors, in many-eoloured dress, 
To make a niartial spectacle, together onward press. 

And now arose loud clangour from meeting spear and shield, 
Soon many splintered lances were scattered o'er the field ; 
How many eolours glittered together in the air ! 
"NVhat sounds of arins and battle-cries were loudly ringing there ! 

To see the splendid tournaruent fortli went both king and queen ; 
In the centre of the piain their pavilion was seen ; 
It was decked with glorious colours, and on the grassy ground 
A hundred tents for noble knights were stationed all around. 

So with many noble tournays they passed the merry day, 
And the heroes went to rest in the evening cool and gray ; 
There was stillness on the piain until mornim; clear and bright, 
When King Etzel soon devised for Ins queen a new delight. 

In procession to Vienna he bade Iiis heroes go, 
With all their clans in füll array — they made a wondrous show ; 
But more beauteous was the view of Yienna for the queen — 
Here Austria's fairest ladies all in dresses gay were seen. 

Of people out of many lands the crowd was now so great, 
They could not all be entertained within the city-gate ; 
But Etzel's knights and warriors, at Rüdigers conimand, 
Dispersed theii' various companies o'er all the neighbouring land. 

And here, in gay Yienna, on the feast of TVhitsuntide, 
Kriemhilde, who hid her sorrows all, was once again a bride ; 
"VThen she beheld the thousands who were all her subjects now, 
Though sorrow still was in her heart, pride gathered on her 

So eostly were the jewels which to many knights she gave, 
So many were her gifts to Etzel' s heroes brave, 
They disbelieved the story of her loss so often told ; 
" Our queen/' said they, " has surely brought the Nibelungen 
gold I" 

A festival of seventeen days was in Yienna held ; 

The pageantry of every day all former days excelled ; 

I cannot teil von half of the pleasures that were planned ; — 

'Twas remembered as a wonder long in all the Austrian land. 

Xow Kriemhilde was a queen again ! With Etzel at her side, 
She looked upon the host of meu, her followers, with pride ; 
And thus she whispered to heraelf — 8 O'er such a mighty band 
Even Siegfried, in bis day of power, did never hold conimand |" 



Yet in the midst of all this festival-array, 
The thouglits of Kriemhilde often would wander far away, 
And to hide the tears upon her face her head she would incline ; 
For her heart was still with Siegfried, in his Castle on the Rhine.' 

Several years passed away, and then Kriemhilde determined to 
carry her plan of revenge into execution. Accordingly, she per- 
suaded Etzel to invite Günther and his heroes ; 1 for,' said she, 
' what will our subjects say of their new queen if none of my 
powerful kinsmen visit me ? ' When this invitation was received 
at Worms, Hagen had a foreboding of gloomy consequences, and 
said to the king, 1 Be assured that the wife of Etzel will revenge 
the death of Siegfried.' Again there were bad omens at the Castle 
of Worms. The aged mother of the king dreamt one night that 
* all the birds of Burgundy lay dead in the fields.' But defying 
this omen, King Günther, with. a splendid rethrae of knights and 
other followers, proceeded on his journey into the land of the 
Huns. When they came to the banks of the Danube, Hagen saw 
two Sirens (or water-nymphs) bathing in the river. As these 
creatures were able to predict the future, the hero required them 
to teil the fortune of his journey. The first fiattered him; but 
the second said, ' Only one man of all your Company, the king's 
chaplain, will return to Burgundy.' At last boats were found; 
and as the heroes crossed the river, Hagen, in order to falsify the 
siren's words, seized the chaplain, and threw him overboard. The 
chaplain, however, proved himself a vigorous swimmer, soon 
reached the shore, and wandered back alone into Burgundy. The 
heroes, after journeying for some days, arrived at the Castle of 
Bechlarn, which belonged to Rüdiger, the powerful friend and 
ambassador of King Etzel. Rüdiger received his guests with. 
warm hospitality, which is pleasingly described in the poem. 
Giselher, the youngest brother of King Günther, was here be- 
trothed to the daughter of Rüdiger. When his guests departed, 
the host presented his own sword to Gernot, and the hostess gave 
to Hagen the shield which her fath'er had borne in many battles. 

* " Welcome, my friends ! " said Rüdiger to Günther and his band ; 
<c It gives me joy to see the king of the Burgundian land, 
And to hail once more bold Hagen, a hero brave and true." 
Then Hagen gave to Rüdiger the thanks and homage due. 

" Alight and taste at once, my lords, my castle's heartiest cheer ! 
For all your steeds, your arms, your gold, you need not have a fear : 
I have servants true and honest, and such numbers at my call, 
That if your host was greater, they could wait upon you all." 

And now into the castle-yard all Günther's heroes pass, 

While their followers sat down to rest upon the pleasant grass ; 



The servants of the Margrave camc to lead the steeds away ; 
For none of Günther's Company niust travel on to-day. 

The noble wife of Rüdiger led out her daughter fair ; 
Their dress was shining silk ; gold and gems were in their hair ; 
And all their maids beside them stood, in beautiful array, 
While with their golden ringlets the gentle breezes play. 

And as Rüdiger gave Orders, bis daughter gave her hand 

To Giselher, the youngest of the princes of bis land ; 

While the noble Margravine led King Günther toward the hall,. 

Where a banquet was prepared for the brave Burgundians all. 

Here many costly goblets were filled with rosy wine, 

And the ladies of the Castle in silks and jewels shine ; 

In the midst of that gay Company the Margrave's daughter fair 

Was praised by the Burgundians as the brightest jewel there. 

But when the feast was ready, she departed with her band 

Of young and beauteous maidens ('twas the custom of the land) - r 

She took away the light of her beauty from the place > 

All Günther's heroes longed to see once more her smiling face. 

But when the feast was over, with her maidens she appeared ; 
The hearts of all the Company with rosy wine were cheered ; 
Then thus to noble Rüdiger the hero Volker said : — 
" We thank you for the banquet so hospitably spread ; 

" Right happy are you, Margrave, and heaven has blessed you well ; 
Within your noble castle in a pleasant land you dwell ; 
And if you had not such estates, yet such a noble wife, 
And such a daughter, are enough to make a happy life. 

" But (let me dare to teil you) if I sat upon a throne, 

You should not call this maiden, so beautiful, your own ; 

Teil me, Burgundian heroes all, if I have truly said ; 

Should not the Margrave's daughter wear a crown upon her head V* 

Said Hagen, " Here is Giselher, the youngest of our line, 
Will answer soon that question, if bis choice resembles mine ; 
I cannot talk in wooing style, but, in the battle-field, 
For such a queen I willingly would carry sword and shield." 

The saying pleased young Giselher, for well he loved the maid : 
Said Gernot, " Why should the promise of marriage be delayed?" 
And king Günther swore an oath — " If my brother wins her hand, 
She shall have a castle and estate in the Burgundian land." 

Said Rüdiger, " I cannot give like one of royal line ; 

But of pure gold and silver a treasure large is mine ; 

And more of this, I promise, than a hundred steeds can carry, 

I will give unto my daughter if with Giselher she marry." 


A few more words were said, and in thc custom of the land, 
Around the maiden and the prince all Günther's heroes stand; 
A sudden rosy blush o'er the maiden's face was spread, 
Her father put the question soon, and softly "yea"' she said. 

And then said noble Rüdiger — "When Günther and Iiis band 
Call here again, as they return into their native land, 
To Burgundy my daughter as a bride shall ride away " — 
Alas ! no hero lived to see the merry marriage-day ! 

Four days in Rüdiger's castle the bold Burgundians stayed ; 
All needful preparation for their journey now was made : 
Their swords and shields were brought, their steeds were ready at 

But without gifts they must not leave the hospitable hall. 

First to the bold Gernot, a gentle prince and brave, 
A sword of trusty teinper the noble Rüdiger gave : 
How little thought the host that, beneath a cruel blow 
From the weapon he had given, he must suddenly fall low ! 

" Of all the armour that I see," said Hagen, " here to-day, 
There is one piece which I should love to carry hence away ; 
If it might be, 'twould give me joy to own that splendid shield 
Which the noble hero Nodung bore so often in the field." 

The gentle wife of Rüdiger shed suddenly a tear ; 
For 'twas her father's armour, and for his sake was dear ; 
But she took it from the wall, and at once to Hagen gave : 
Said she, " It shall not rust — let it still protect the brave ! " 

Now it was time to travel on, and all must ride away; 

So Volker tuned his fiddle, and sang a farewell lay : 

How little thought the ladies, while they listened to the strain, 

They would never see that Company, nor hear that song again t 

Now Rüdiger was ready to lead his guests along, 
And in the foreign country to shelter them from wrong. 
There was sorrowing at Bechlarn when the heroes rode away ; 
But all had hopes of meeting in the hall another day. 

And little thought the host, as they rode along the shore 
Of the Danube, that his eyes would greet his home, his wife, no 
more ! 

He talked in cheerful tones. as he rode along the sand, 
Until he led the heroes into mighty Etzel's land. 

Among King Etzel's followers the news was quickly spread 
That Günther's band was Coming, with Rüdiger at their head ; 



"Receive your fricuds and brothers well!" to Kriemhilde Etzel 
said ; 

u Be rnerry with the living, and forget for aye tlie dead ! " 

But Kriemhilde from a window looked with a gloomy face, 
As she saw once more the heroes of the bold Burgundian race ; 
And while King Etzel smiled with joy, as all the band came nigh, 
The queen looked out on Hagen with a stern and cruel eye. 

Then to the Hunnish warriors who near her stood she said — ■ 
■"Here come the men beneath whose hands my hero Siegfried 

My time of vengeance now is nigh — my story I have told — 
And all who fight for me shall share the Nibelungen gold ! " ' 

When the queen reeeived her kinsmen, it was noticed that 
she gave a kiss only to the youngest, Giselher, who had taken 
no part in the death of Siegfried. ' When Hagen observed this, 
he bound his helmet more tightly on bis brow.' After coldly 
welcoming her guests, the queen inquired if her kinsmen had 
brought with them the Nibelimgen treasure. ' No,' said Hagen ; 
1 we have had enough to do to bring our swords and shields.' 
The queen next proposed (aecording to the custom of the times) 
to take the weapons of her guests and give them into faithful 
custody ; but Hagen refused to surrender his sword, and advised 
all his companions to keep their armour on. ' Some traitor has 
warned them!' Kriemhilde exclaimed. 'Yes,' said Dietrich; £ I 
forewarned these heroes that they would fmd an unfriendly reeep- 
tion here.' Some days passed over without an outbreak of war, 
when the queen persuaded her knights to make an attack on the 
Burgundians. A dreadful engagement followed, and the Huns 
were defeated. Meanwhile Eüdiger, the faithful ally of King 
Etzel, had arrived at the royal Castle, expecting to find here a 
scene of festivity. Great was the surprise and sorrow of Eüdiger 
when King Etzel turned to him and requested him to go with all 
his followers and put an end to the contest by taking the life of 
Hagen. There was a severe strife in Eüdiger's heart ; for loyalty 
to the king now demanded the sacrifice of many friends. The 
following passage from this part of the story may serve as a fair 
speeimen of its style : — 

'Then said the queen to Eüdiger, " Think only of your vow 
To serve and to defend me : I claim that service now." 
And thus replied brave Rüdiger, " I know I must be true ; 
But oh, that I am here to-day, how bitterly I rue ! " 

Then said he to the king, " Take back into your hand 
Whatever you have given to me, my Castle, and my land, 



And let my life in poverty and sorrow have an cnd, 
Before I go to draw my sword against my gucst and friend ! 

" I hailed them in tliis land with hearty cheer and wine ; 
Believing they were Etzel's friends, I treated them as mine : 
To Giselher of Burgundy my daugliter fair I gave, 
And I was glad to win a son so loyal, true, and brave." 

But now again spoke Kriemliilde, " All that has passed away : 
Think only of the duty which ye owe to me to-day ! 
Go summon all your followers, and end at once tliis strife ; 
Or take (and that will be enougli) my uncle Hagen's life ! " 

Then said the hero Rüdiger, " Tliis is a fatal day ! 
For all the king has given to me my life I now must pay. 
My daughter and my wife to your kindness I commend ; 
Remember them, for I forebode that now my life must end." 

So saying, from the queen he went, and called Iiis followers round : 
Five hundred men and twelve brave knights were in his Service 

They buckled on their armour soon, and on to battle pressed ; 
But Büdiger before them walked with sorrow in his breast. 

"When Giselher beheld the band, he smiled with joy, and cried, 
u A friend is Coming ! Büdiger is surely on our side." 
But Volker turned to Giselher, and bade his triumph cease ; 
" These men with swords and shields," said he, " come not to talk 
of peace ! " 

Now Büdiger came slowly on, and halted, with Iiis band, 
Before the hall, and bade his men prepared for battle stand. 
a I come," said he, u to Günther's friends no words of peace to 
bring : 

Defend yourselves, Burgundians ! I must obey my king !" 

u But Heaven forbid," said Günther then, " that I should lift my 

Against the friend who welcomed me into this foreign land !" 
u Ali ! that I ever welcomed you I bitterly repent," 
Said Rüdiger, " but Etzel's wife refuses to relent." 

Then said Gernot to Rüdiger, " I loved you as a friend ; 
But if you fight against my king, our friendship has an end ; 
And with the sword you gave me I must take away your life, 
However I may sorrow for your daughter and your wife ! " 

" Heaven pity us ! " said Rüdiger ; then turning to Iiis band, 
Who lifted up their swords and shields, he gave the stern com- 

To rush on the Burgundians within the castle-hall ; 

But Hagen stayed the onset with a loud and sudden call. 



" One momcnt wait !" said Hagen ; "you see this battered shicl-d 
Has stopped the blows of many swords, but now begins to yield. 
I brought it to this country as the present of your wife — 
Had I the shield you carry, I could well defend my life !" 

" Thon I give it you," said Rüdiger ; " and yet, if this is known, 
I fear that I shall seem unfaithful to the throne ; 
But here at once, brave Hagen, I place it in your hand, 
And may you live to carry it to Burgundy's fair land ! " ' 

In the combat which followed this conversation, Gernot, Rüdi- 
ger, and many other heroes feil. When Dietrich of Berne heard 
that Rüdiger was slain, he sent Iiis ancient warrior Hildebrand 
to attack the Burgundians. A sanguinary engagement took place, 
and lasted until none remained of all the Burgundian Company 
save Günther and Hagen, who stood at the entrance of the Castle 
hall, which was filled with the dead bodies of their friends and 
followers. Dietrich of Berne now asked the Burgundian king and 
Iiis hero to surrender ; but they replied with scorn, though they 
were now exhausted, and almost fainting. Dietrich then challenged 
each of them to single combat. He overcame them, and bound 
them fast, as he wished to spare their lives. When he led Iiis 
prisoners to the queen, he earnestly intreated her to let them live. 
The poem concludes with the following verses : — ■ 

* The queen went first to Hagen, and looked on him with hate : 
u Receive my terms at once," said she, " before it is too late. 
My Nibelungen treasure to me at last restore, 
Then Günther and yourself may see fair Burgundy once more." 

Then spoke the fearless Hagen, " Your talking is in vain ; 
For I have sworn that buried deep your treasure shall remain, 
While one of Günther's family still lives to claim the throne ; 
So cease to ask — do what you will — my secret is my own." 

Then turning to a follower, Queen Kriemhilde bade him go 
To the cell where Günther lay, and strike the fatal blow ; 
And Hagen cried with sorrow when he saw the servant bring 
The head of Kriemhilde's br other, the brave Burgundian king. 

He looked on it a moment, then with bitterness he said, 
" Günther, Gernot, and Giselher, thy brothers all, are dead ; 
But never shalt thou know, destroyer of thy race, 
What I alone can teil — thy treasure's hiding-place." 

"Then be it so !" said Kriemhilde ; " you have at last restored 
To me one costly treasure, my Sicgfried's noble sword." 
She drew it from its scabbard, Struck off the hero's head, 
And Etzel cried aloud to see the mighty Hagen dead. 



• Without revenge he shall not die !" said ancient Hildebrand ; 
" I will not see a hero fall beneath a woman's hand ! " 

He drew Iiis sword against the queen, and smote her in tlie sidc ; 
So Kriemhilde feil beneath tlie blow, and, 'mid her kinsmen, died. 

Thus vainly was the life-blood of many heroes shed ; 
Dietrich and Etzel, left alone, lamented o'er the dead ; 
And in dismal wailings ended the banquet of the hing : 
Thus love doth evermore its dole and sorrow bring. 

I cannot teil you more — how, when the news was spread, 
Fair ladies, knights, and squires, were weeping for the dead : 
What afterwards befeil 'tis not niy task to say, 
For here ray story ends — the Nibelungen lay.' 

At the time of its reproduction, this poem, like the romances 
and the lyrics of the same period, was written in that Teutonic 
dialect which has been styled the Middle High-German.* 

* We append a specimen of the original, with a translation into Modern High- 
German, and a literal English version : — 


* Vor einer vesperzite huop sich gröz ungemach, 
daz von manegem recken üf dem hove geschach. 
si pfiägen riterschefte durch kurzwile wän. 
dö liefen dar durch schouwen manic wip unde man. 

Zesamne dö gesäzen die küniginne rieh, 

si gedähten zweier recken, die wären lohelich. 

dö sprach diu schoene Kriemhilt : " ich hän einen man, 

daz elliu disiu rlche zuo sinen handen solden stän." 

Dö sprach diu frowe Brünhilt : " wie künde daz gesin ? 

oh ander nieman lehete wan din unde sin, 

sö möhten im diu riche wol wesen undertän : 

die wil daz lebet Günther, sö kund ez nimmer ergän." ' 

II. Modern High-German. 

' Es war vor einer Vesper als man den Schall vernahm, 
Der von manchem Recken auf dem Hofe kam : 
Sie stellten Ritterspiele Kurzweil halber an. 
Da eilten es zu schauen viel Frauen und mancher Mann. 

Da saszen beisammen die Königinnen reich 
Und gedachten zweier Reeken, die waren ohne Gleich. 
Da sprach die schöne Kriemhilde : ' ' Ich hab einen Mann : 
Alle diese Reiche wären ihm billig unterthan." 

Da sprach Frau Brunhilde : " Wie könnte das wohl sein ? 

"Wenn Anders Niemand lebte, als du und er allein, 

So möchten ihm die Reiche wohl zu Gebote stehn : 

So lange Günther lebet, so kann es nimmer geschehn." ' 

Karl Simrock. 

III. Literal Translation. 

' Before the vesper hour there was a great movement 
Of many knights who came into the courtyard, 
To engage in a tournament as their pastime. 
Many women and men hastened to behold it. 




While the people were interested in ballads of German origin, 

die patrons of romance and poetry among the nobility fonnd mate- 
rials for their amusement in various foreign traditions. This was 
not an age of historical criticism ; all legends were accepted with 
admiration if they contained extraordinary and wonderful adven- 
tures. Consequently the mixture of the stories of many distinct 
epochjB, the confusion of facts and fahles — of Christianity and 
heathenism, and of the beautiful with the absurd — which we find 
in the romances of chivalry, makes a critical analysis impossible. 
The characteristics of these stränge fictions would be unintelligible 
in the present times, if the genial satirist Cervantes had not, while 
employing his humour upon them, preserved some of their features 
in his ' Don Quixote.' Yet these romances — which were celebrated 
in England, Spain, and France, as well as in Germany — nmst not 
be represented as wholly ridiculous, though they are remote from 
a modern taste. The character of chivalry itself had two sides — ■ 
one serious and lofty in purpose, the other a caricature ; and the 
romances of this period may be regarded in the same way. Some 
had a symbolical purpose and a religious meaning, while others 
were gay and licentious. But with regard even to the best of 
these fictions, it must be observed that the legends of the Middle 
Ages, upon which they are founded, are so remote from the appre- 
hension of modern readers, that it is difficult to explain the inte- 
rest which some German admirers of the antique and the mystical 
still find in them. 

The two favourite legends with which these romances inter- 
wove innumerable adventures, were the legend of ' Prince Arthur' 
and that of the ' Holy Gral.' The former had probably a British 
origin. Prince Arthur, we are told, reigned at the castle of Leon, 
by the river Usk in Wales. To his court hundreds of knights 
repaired with their ladies, and twelve elect knights of the brightest 
reputation formed the centre of a brilliant assembly. From this 
home of chivalry many knights went out to seek adventures — to con- 
tend against tyrants, to dissolve enchantments, and to fight with 
giants and mysteriously-powerful dwarfs. It may be remembered 

And there sat together the two wealthy queens, 

And thought of two heroes who were worthy of praise. 

Then Said the fair Kriemhilde, 1 ' I have a husband 

[So noble that] all this kingdorn should be placed in his hands." 

Then said the lady Brunhilde, " How can that come to pass ? 
If none were living save you and your man, 
Then this kingdom might be placed under him ; 
But while Günther lives that can never be." ' 



tliat even Milton, in his youth, loved to read such fictions, and 
some traces of the old romancists may be found in his poems. 

The legend of the ' Holy Gral' had a religious meaning, but its 
origin is involved in mystery. We may, however, find some 
analogies to its meaning in the legends of many countries. The 
' Gral' was a symbol of the highest perfection to which man could 
aspire. All nations have had traditions, or imaginations, of a lost 
paradise ; of a land where all wishes rest, all hopes are fulfilled, 
and happiness is realised. The American Indian dreamed of the 
' happy hunting-ground far away in the west.' Arabian and Per- 
sian legends say that some glimpses of a glorious garden, watered 
by unfailing Springs, filled with delicious fruits and never-fading 
roses, but surrounded on all sides by a vast wilderness, have been 
seen by some pilgrims when perishing amid the sands. The 
Hindoos have their legend of the sacred forest of Cridavana, the 
home of wise and happy men. The favourite representation of 
this paradise on earth during the Middle Ages was the ' Gral,' of 
which we gather the following description from a romance entitled 


' A stone of inestimable value was made into a goblet by Joseph 
of Arimathea ; this was the cup used in the Last Supper of Christ 
with his disciples. On this occasion it received miraculous powers ; 
and in following years, angels descended from heaven on every Good- 
Friday to renew the sanctity of the wonderful cup. To be elected as 
one of the guardians of the Gral was the highest honour which could 
be attained by a knight in ancient times, but it demanded the greatest 
purity and nobility of character. For some ages none on earth was 
found worthy of this ofiice, and therefore angels hovered in the air 
bearing the precious cup, until the religious knight Titurel founded 
a temple and an order of templars for the preservation of the Gral 
on the mountain called Montsalvage in Biscaya. The slopes of this 
mountain were of polished onyx, and shone with a mild splendour 
like the moon. The temple was situated on the summit, and had a 
circular form, being one hundred fathoms in diameter. Around this 
central temple stood seventy-two octagon chapels, with a tower for 
every two chapels ; and the central tower of the great temple was 
twice the height of the others. The interior roofs of all the chapels 
were constructed of blue sapphires, and each roof had in its centre 
a smaragdus, on which was engraved the emblem of the Lamb bear- 
ing the Cross. All the altar stones were made of blue sapphire, with 
coverings of green velvet, and all precious gems blended their rays 
in the decorations of pillars and altars. In the interior cupola of 

* Verses 311-415. See also Boisseree * On the Description of the Gral-Temple.' 
Munich : 1834. This quotation is borrowed from Dr Vilmar's ' Lectures on German 
National Literature.' Second edition. 1847. 



tlie temple tlie sun and the moon were represented in diamond and 
topaz, which glittcred so, that there was day in the shrine even 
during night; for the lamps were always burning. The Windows 
were of crystal and beryl; the pavement was also transparent 
crystal, and bcneath it the fishes of the sea were represented in 
onyx. On every tower stood a cross of crystal, and on this a golden 
eagle with wings outspread. On the summit of the main tower was 
fixed a large carbuncle, which threw out its radiance over a wide 
circle, and served by night as a lamp to guide pilgrims to the Sanc- 
tuary. Lastly, in the centre of the great temple, just beneath the 
cupola, the whole of the building was copied in miniature, and forin ed 
of the most resplendent gems ; and in this inmost shrine the Holy 
Gral was preserved.' 

Wolfram of Eschenbach, and Gottfried of Strasburg, the 
two most celebrated authors of romances during this period, were 
entirely opposed to each other in style and sentiment. Wolfram, 
in his ' Parcival,' related the adventures of an earnest and reli- 
gious hero, who passed through many years of pilgrimage in search 
of the Sanctuary of the Gral. Gottfried, in his ' Tristan,' took a 
part of the legends of Prince Arthur, and wrote a romance in a 
light and licentious style, but with fluency of versification, and 
considerable power of poetic expression. These two romances 
were written before the year 1220. The opposite characteristics 
displayed in them were found in the Institution of chivalry which 
they celebrated. 'Parcival' represents its religious aspect, while 
1 Tristan ' exposes its secular corruption. The light style of Gott- 
fried was continued and deteriorated by Iiis followers, until all the 
serious character of chivalry disappeared, and the adventures of 
knights were related only to excite laughter. Wolfram's romance 
is still regarded with admiration by some German antiquaries, 
who find in it, as they suppose, a deep religious meaning. A 
ßlight sketch of its outlines may be given here. 

Parcival, who was a descendant of the first king of the Gral- 
Temple, Titurel, was destined to hold the office of his renowned 
ancestor ; but of this high destination he remained wholly ignorant 
for many years. He was educated in deep solitude, so as to be 
kept remote from all the follies of the world, until he determined 
to devote himself to the profession of chivalry. He passed several 
years in various adventures, and gained renown by the purity and 
bravery of his career, but vainly endeavoured to find satisfaction 
in worldly splendour and applause. He feit that he had some 
high destination, and yet could not determine its exact nature. 
At last he was led, by apparent accident, to the Castle of his 
ancestor, the Gral-King. Here he was suddenly introduced to a 
scene of the greatest splendour. He was led into a spacious hall, 
lighted by a himdred chandeliers ; and here four hundred knights 



wcre sitting on riclily-embroidered couchcs, while incense was 
Imming before them in four censers. Preparation appeared to 
have been made for some solemnity; but the mystery was as 
impressive as the splendour of the scene ; for all who were present 
seemed to be waiting for some event which did not take place. 
At last a door at one end of the hall Avas opened, and a brilliant 
procession entered. First four princesses walked in, clothed in 
Starlet robes, and bearing lights in golden candlesticks ; behind 
these walked eight noble maidens, dressed in green velvet, and 
bearing between them a costly table made of transparent hyacinth ; 
next followed six maidens in brilliant silken dresses, who carried 
various richly-omamented articles of silver-plate to deck the table ; 
and lastly, the queen of this fair Company came, bringing in her 
hands the precious glittering cup, the Gral, which she placed on 
the table before the king, who gazed upon it, but said nothing. In 
the midst of all this splendour there was deep grief and solemnity ; 
for it appeared that the king had been fatally wounded, and was 
now kept alive only by looking upon the sacred cup. For some 
reason he was now no longer worthy to be its preserver, but was 
waiting for the arrival of the destined knight to whom he might 
deliver up the guardianship of the Gral. Parcival, however, was 
lost in amazement, and did not venture to address to the king, or 
any of the Company, an inquiry concerning the meaning of the 
ceremonies which he beheld. He reeeived no invitation to remain 
in the Castle ; but as, on the next morning, he found preparations 
made for Iiis departure, he rode away to find further adventures. 
After this, he wandered far, and was engaged in various enter- 
prises for four years, endeavouring to find some worthy object of 
ambition; for Iiis destination still remained a mystery. In the 
course of his travels, he was reminded several times by various 
persons that he had failed in the true object of Iiis life, had ne- 
glected to perform a religious duty, and had involved many per- 
sons in deep sorrow on aecount of Iiis neglect. Such reproofs only 
served to bewilder more and more the mind of Parcival. At last 
he finds an aged hermit, who undertakes to explain to him all the 
mystery which had attended his reeeption in the Gral-Castle. 
Trevrizent, the hermit, confessed that he hhnself belonged by birth 
to the royal race to whom the custody of the sacred cup was con- 
fided, but that he had made himself unworthy of the office by 
worldly ambition, and had therefore retired into solitude to spend 
Iiis days in penance. He then related that the present king of 
the Gral-Castle had forfeited his place by having engaged in a 
worldly adventure, in which he had reeeived a fatal wound ; and 
that now he lived only to await the arrival of the descendant of 
Titurel, to whose hands he might confide the sacred cup. But it 




had been predictcd that this destined gimrdian would make him- 
seif known by an inquiry respecting the health of the king, and 
the fnture preservation of the Gral. Parcival now understood that 
all the doubts and mysteries which had attended his career were 
the results of his having neglected to make an earnest inquiry 
respecting the meaning of the ceremonies which he had seen in 
the Castle. He is now taught by the hermit that he must prepare 
himself for his office, not by martial courage and earthly ambition, 
but by deep repentance and humiliation. In the end of the story, 
Parcival goes to the Castle, where he asks the expected question, 
and is soon installed in Iiis office as the ' Guardian of the Gral.' 

This singular and mystical legend may serve as a specimen of 
the serious romances of chivalry. In some parts it may receive 
a moral or religious Interpretation ; but it would be difficult to 
trace through all its adventures any consistent purpose. The 
same remark may be applied to other romances of this period, 
which are füll of long descriptions, numerous digressions and com- 
plications of incidents, without an intelligible plot. 

Some of the writers of romances found their materials in ancient 
history and poetry. Thus Heinrich von Veldeein made a ro- 
mance out of Virgil's '^neid' (1184-88), but it contains no Vir- 
gilian taste or elegance. Konrad von Wurzburg, who died in 
1287, wrote a romance on the 'Trojan War 1 in a superior style. 
Lamprecht, who lived probably in the twelfth Century, wrote 
(or perhaps translated from some French original) a 1 Life of 
Alexander the Great.' In this work we find some invention, but 
no consistency of plot. Some of its traits are amusing. The ex- 
tensive parts of the world still left undefined by geographic science, 
afforded, for the romancists, convenient theatres wherein to display 
the adventures of supernatural knights, fairies, and enchanters. 
Lamprecht could safely teil the wonders of remote India, where he 
prudently placed his hero beyond the reach of contradiction. In 
this romance of ' Alexander,' the hero gives, in a letter to his old 
tutor Aristotle, an account of some prodigies which he has seen. 
This letter contains the following passage of beautiful fancy : — 


' We entered here a sliady wood, 
Where trees of spreading foliage stood, 
And twined their branches so together, 
As to shut out the sultry weather. 
Below, cool fountains bubbled out, 
And, winding playfully about, 
Moistened the mossy roots, and then 
Together flowed into a glen 



Beside thc pleasant wood, and herc 
Was spread a lakc as crystal clear. 

Shining birds, with tuncful throats, 
Cheered the forest with their notes ; 
And on the mossy traf there grew 
Large rose-bnds, bcautiful to view — 
Some as white as mountain-snoAv j 
Others had a ruddy glow. 
"We gazed with wonder there, beholding 
Each its fragrant leaves unfolding ; 
For out of every floA\er-cup there 
Stepped a maiden rosy-fair, 
Kosy as evening skies, and bright 
In youth and joy as morning-light ! 

Among thc forest-trees they played, 
And danced together on the glade ; 
And when these fairy-damsels sung, 
Within the wood their carols rung 
More tunefully than any bird, 
Or instrument we ever heard ; 
And lulled by their melodious strain, 
We all forgot onr toil and pain : 
Our lifo was like a pleasant streara, 
Or like a sweet, enchanting dream ; 
We longed for ever there to stay — 
Alas, that joys should pass away ! 

Our forest-brides, who rose from ßowers, 

Faded Avith the fading bowers ; 

Buds that were so bright in May, 

Died when summer passed away ; 

And, like the flowers that once were bright, 

Our fairies faded from our sight : 

'Mid withered leaA'es the breezes sighed, 

The crystal fountains all were dried, 

The merry birds were dead or banished, 

And all our f orest-pleasures vanished ! ' 

This romance does not conclude without a moral. Alexander, 
liaving conquered all the nations on earth, is represented as arri\'- 
ing with bis army at the gate of Paradise, which he intends to 
take by storm! But an angel appears, and teils the hero that 
Paradise cannot be won in such a way, and exhorts him to go back 
into bis own country, and there to practise humility and other 
virtues. The romance is here more favourable to the victor's 
character than histoiy has been. Alexander returns to Macedonia, 
where he rules Iiis people with justice and clemency for twelve 



years, and then dies. 1 And of all bis dominions,' says the poet, 
' tliere remained for him, at last — 

' Seven fect of earth, and not a Span 
More than for a common man P 

In addition to these foreign romances, the legends of the Church 
ßupplied materials for many versified narratives; but of these it 
would be difficult to quote any suited to a modern taste. Among 
a few stories of populär origin and moral purport left by this pe- 
riod, ' Der Arme Heinrich ' (' Poor Henry'), which was written by 
HARTMANN, may be noticed, on aecount of the simple pathos of 
some passages. 


The practice of versification was exceedingly fashionable during 
this time. Many knights, and noblemen, and even kings, were 
competitors in this exercise of ingenuity. Two kings of the 
Hohenstaufen House, one king of Bohemia, Duke Henry of 
Breslau, and the Margrave Otto of Brandenburg, are included in 
the catalogue of one hundred and sixty minstrels, or Minnesingers. 
Yet some of these titled minstrels coulcl neither read nor write. 
We find one of them, Ulrich (whose autobiography has been pre- 
served), carrying about a letter from bis lady for a week, and com- 
plaining that he could find no learned clerk to explain it. The 
lays of these Minnesingers were recited or sung in courtly assem- 
blies of knights and ladies, and several courts were engaged 
in rivalry for the honours of poetical genius. Such was the pre- 
valence of the fashion of versification, and so reacly were royal and 
noble patrons to reward munificently even feeble efiorts in poetry, 
that Stricker, a satirical writer of this period, teils us how some of 
the kings of Austria made themselves bankrupts by their love of 
minstrelsy. The short lyrics, or ' Minneliedeiy * which won such 
high prizes, are generally devoted to the praise of fair ladies. Few 
of them have remarkable poetical value, though they are intc- 
resting as literary curiosities. The authors of these amiable and 
harmless little songs were military men; yet they did not write 
one martial lyric. They lived in a picturesque and romantic 
epoch, and had witnessed or heard of such events as the corona- 
tion of Frederick I. at Rome, the conquest of Milan, the reconcilia- 
tion of the Pope and the Emperor at Venioe, and the Crusades ; 
yet of all these movements we find scarcely a trace in their lyrics, 
which are generally sentimental. Their lyre had only three strings : 
one was tuned to the praise of spring and pleasant weather; an- 

* Minne, love ; Lieder, songs. 



other thrilled to celebrate the beauty of noble ladies; and the 
third -was devotcd to tlie laments of disappointed affection. The 
same degeneracy which took place in tlie romances of chivalry may 
be observed also in its lyrical poetry. 

Nithart, who died before 1246, and whose verses show some 
metricaltact; Frauenlob (1250-1318); Friedrich von Hausen, 
who feil in a Crusade in 1190, and many other minstrels, might be 
described here, but we find little that is original or clistinctive in 
their verses. The feminine tone of their lyrics, when contrasted 
with their martial profession, must be regarded as one of the sin- 
gnlar caprices of fashion; but it may be partly explained by the 
fact, that these lyrics were not composed to be read, but to be sung 
or recited with a musical accompaniment. It is probable that the 
music of these lays was esteemed as of higher importance than 
the meaning. Modern operas show that verses written for music 
seldom rise above mecliocrity in poetry. We find a curious in- 
stance of the taste of this period in a controversy which was raised 
among the Minnesingers on the question, whether the word weib 
(woman) or the word frau (lady) was the more worthy to be used 
in poetry. Frauenlob gained his name by the part which he as- 
sumed in this contest, and, as a reward for his Services, his body 
was carried to the grave in 1318 by the ladies of Mayence, who 
poured copious libations of wine upon his tombstone. It is only 
fair to add to this brief sketch, that some part of the delicate re- 
spect still paid to ladies in Germany and England may be fairly 
ascribed to the influence of the romancists of chivalry and the 

Walter von der Vogelweide (1170-1227) must be distin- 
guished from all his contemporaries, on account of the moral and 
religious purport of Iiis lyrics. He probably accompanied Frederick 
II. in a Crusade, and passed the remainder of Iiis life as a wandering 
minstrel, visiting several German courts. He wrote some senti- 
mental songs, but was more remarkable as the author of some short 
poems of a religious and didactic purport, in which he often ven- 
tured to direct his satire against the Pope. Two or three speci- 
mens of Walter's poems may be subjoined. The first seems to 
allude to the troublous times which followed the death of the 
Emperor Henry VI. in 1197, when the conflict of the Guelfs with 
the Hohenstaufen party produced great social miseries in Germany 
for several years. The second poem is curious, as it appears to be 
a sincere personal confession of the motive which led many knights 
to engage in the Crusades. The third translation is a favourable 
specimen of Walters lighter lyrics. 



'I sat, one day, upon a stone, 
llapt in a musing fit, alone, 
And rcsting on my hand my licad, 
Thus to myself, in thought, I said — 
" How, in these times of care and strife, 
Shall I direct my fleeting life ? 
Three precions jewcls I requirc 
To satisfy my heart's desire : 
The first is honour, briglit and clear ; 
The next is wealth • but (fax more dear !) 
The third is Heaven's approving smilc." 
Then, after I had mused a while, 
I saw that it was vain to pine 
For these three pcarls in one small shrine ; 
To find within one heart a place 
For honour, wealth, and heavenly grace ; 
For how can one, in days like these, 
Heaven and the world together please \ ' 


{ Ah ! my best years have fled away, 
Like dreams, or like a minstrel's lay ; 
I see, once more, my native ground, 
And wonder as I look around ; 
For now I seem a stranger here, 
Where many faces once were dear : 
My playmates all are gray and old ; 
The land itself seems drear and cold : 
They've felled the trees on yonder hill ; 
The river flows beside it still ; 
But my best years have passed aAvay 
As on the sea the drops of spray, 
Or like the waves upon the shore — 
I say " alas ! " for evermore. 

Time, like the earth with flowers bespread 
In youthful spring, is dark and dead 
When age and cares are Coming ou, 
And friends and pleasures all are gone. 
One consolation now remains — 
To combat on the holy plains, 
Not for riches, nor renown, 
But for an everlasting crown ; 
For absolution, for release 
From all my sins ; for rest and peace. 
May I but tread that sacred shore ! * 
Then will I say "alas " no more!' 
* Palcstine. 




* German Ladies ! I will teil 
What will surely please you well. 
'Tis a minstrel's sweetest task, 
And for no reward I ask : 
Only, when my song is done, 
Smile, and so my prize is won ! 

In many countries I liave bcen, 

And noble knights and ladies seen ; 

Bnt here alone I find my rest ; 

Old Germany is still the best ! 

Some other lands have pleased me well ; 

But here — 'tis here I choose to dwell ! 

German men have virtues rare, 
But German maids are angels fair ! 
If a noble knight would find 
A lady pure, and true and kind, 
Let him come to our fair land, 
And win a German maiden's hand. 
Now reward me for my song ; 
And may I live to praise you long 1' 

One of the pleasing features in the lays of the Minnesingers is 
the genuine delight with which they hail the return of spring, and 
the beauties of summer. One stanza from a song for May-day, by 
Count Conrad of Kirchberg, is a fair specimen of many similar 
lyrics : — 


' May comes, after April's rain, 

Chasing wintry cares away ; 
Hasten, children ! o'er the piain, 

See young Spring Iiis gems display. 
From Iiis rosy hand he showers 
O'er hill and valley lovely fiowers, 
With herbs and pleasant grass between ; 
And all the woods again are green ; 
While, in the bosom of the vale, 
The nightingale pours out her tale. 
Boys and maidens ! in a ring, 

Dance in honour of the day ; 
While all who will not dance, must sing ; 

K Be blessings on the month of May !" ' 

The minstrelsy which, in its early period, was devoted to such 
pleasant themes, was in later times changed into satire. The fol- 
lowers of Walter wrote nioral and satirical verses, which give some 



glimpses into the character of their age. Thus Reinmar von 
Zweter satirises the mixture of secular with sacred Offices in the 
following lines : — 

1 Monastic beards and shaven crowns, 
And capes and hoods, and friars' gowns, 
I find enough ; but mnst confess 
Few men are worthy of their dress. 
I do not like, npon one dish, 
A mixture stränge of fowl and fish ; 
Nor can I understand aright 
A knightly monk, or monkish knight.' 

To explain the censure of Reinmar, we must refer to such a clia- 
racter as Christian, the Archbishop of Mentz, who lived in the 
twelfth Century, and of whom it is recorded that 1 he wore, under 
Iiis sacerdotal robe, a coat of mail,' and that 1 in various battles 
he had slain nine enemies with his own hand.' 


The moral and satirical verses of Walter produced an effect 
extending far beyond the circle of courtly minstrels, and estab- 
lished a school of didactic versification, which had some impor- 
tant results. Walter was the first among the nobility who wrote 
for the people; who, forgetting the distinctions of rank and 
fashion, spoke as a man to his fellow-men. 

It is probable that he was the author of one of the earliest and 
most populär of didactic books, which was entitled ' Freidank's 
Moderation,' and was wi-itten, as we are told, by a Crusader in 
Syria in 1229. At least we are certain that the pure ethics of 
this manual accord well with the sentiments found in Walter's 
lyrics. This little book, quite unpretending as a literary Per- 
formance, served as a model for several other writings on morals, 
which mamtained their popularity down to the time of Luther. 
Indeed almost the only interest which can be found in German 
litcrature from 1300 to 1517, consists in the didactic purp ort of a 
series of populär manuals which followed ' Freidank, 1 and were 
powerful enough to hasten such an event as the Reformation. 
The writings of Walter, Tirkler, Stricker, and Hugo, undoubtedly 
prepared the people to receive the doctrines of Luther. 

Next to the work of 'Freidank' (or Walter), a little book 
entitled { Der Winsbeke ' (1250) may be mentioned. It professes 
to contain the advice of an aged king of Tyrol addressed to his 
son. Wirnt, one of the writers of romances, is supposed to have 
been the author of this didactic work. Though written in yerse, 



it has no poetical pretensions, and therefore, for the sake of con- 
ciseness, we may reduce its doctrine to a summary in prose : — 


'My son, remember that, in order to bear your sword and shield 
honourably, you must have wisdom and virtue, and must not be 
guided wholly by the fashions of society. You have now bright 
hopes ; but the world will in many ways disappoint you ; yet never 
be discouraged in your pursuit of what is good, Be not imposed 
upon by appearances. Pay no respect to rank or high birth alone - T 
for nobility without virtue is like good grain thrown away on the 
water. Bestow all due care upon your possessions, and avoid all 
prodigality : I would rather bury you than see you become a 
gambler ; yet you must not worship your riches. Exercise reason- 
able hospitality, and give bread to the poor. Respect your own 
word. Learn to say and mean " Yes " and " No." Do not be afraid of 
difficulties. On the other side, do not waste your powers on objects 
too great for you. Do not act like a young bird who leaves Iiis nest 
before Iiis wings are fledged. If a stone lies in your path, and is too- 
heavy to be lifted, let it lie still, and step over it or beside it. You 
will find perhaps, even in high rank, some ladies who are hardly 
worthy of their titles ; but I warn you not to follow the example of 
those who rail against women. Honourable ladies are the brightest 
Ornaments of our life. In their society we find our best solace ; and 
all the cares and toils of our worldly life are forgotten. The good 
wife and m other, seated in the centre of her family, is the best jewel 
in the crown of society. He who does not honour such a woman, 
has no honour in himself. In your religion you must not be 
offended by the inconsistencies of its teachers. If they say what is 
true, respect and obey their doctrine, leaving them to give an 
account of their own practice.' 

This kind of moral lay-teaching was developed further by 
Thomas Tirkler, who seems to have been, by birth, an Italian, 
and who wrote a book entitled ' The Italian Gruest ' in 1216, whicli 
gives a code of ethics for the use of ' unlearned men.' The fol- 
lowmg summary will convey the purport of tliis work : — 


( The people have too long been bewildcred by stränge legends 
and romances, which, if they contain any good moral, have it wrapped 
up in such an obscure dress, that common readers cannot find it out. 
I have no objection to some good stories as an amusement for young 
people ; indeed I must give praise to Master "Wolfram for Iiis 
romances ; but the piain people can find no safe guidance in such 
books ; and I think it is time that they should be instructed in a 
clearer style, not by fahles and allegories, but by direct argumenta 
and precents. Let it be understood that my intentien is to address 



thc common pcoplc, tlie laity * It is evident now that the people 
cannot safely follow the examples of their superiors. We have had, 
indecd, too much following of fashion, but too little clear moral 
tcaching. We must no louger worship rank. As to the pretensions 
of high descent, we are all noble enough in this respect if we wonld 
live in accordance with our ancestry ; for we all have one Father, 
* who is in Heaven." To do right is the true badge of nobility. 

But to proceed to my pi-incipal topic. After considering long the 
numerous faults to which men are prone, I have found that they all 
proceed from the want of one, the greatest of all virtues — steadfast- 
oiess. This is indeed the mother of all the other virtues. "We are to 
rule the world, and not to be governed by it ; for the world is füll of 
changes; but virtue is firmness itself. What are deceit, double- 
mindedness, avarice, arrogance, luxury, gambling, and many other 
vices, but so many expressions of an unsteadfast mind? On the 
other band, do we not admire even the heroes of our Nibelungen- 
Lied, in spite of all their carelessness of human life, on account of 
their steadfast good faith to each other ? The man who is not 
steadfast in bis purpose, can bring no good action to perfection. He 
plays with the surfaces of things like one who runs bis eye over a 
long line of books ; while the scholar, who is determined to learn 
something, fixes bis attention on one book until he has mastered it. 
Many men of an unsteadfast character soon become weary of the 
practice of virtue, because it does not always appear to have an im- 
mediate reward in tliis life. Some will even say that the careless 
and vicious cnjoy life more than the virtuous ; but this is a hasty and 
false conclusion. The virtuous man derives good both from pain 
and pleasure ; the vicious man derives real good from neither. Even 
the attacks of evil men on the good are overruled for the benefit of 
the latter. Yet let it not be supposcd that this forms any excuse 
for the evil. That will be judged by its intention. It was a just and 
wholesome punishment for David when Absalom revolted ; never- 
theless the young man was guilty in that rebellion. Besides, let us 
not exaggerate in our views of life. Even the vicious men whom we 
find in prosperity may have some virtues, and their temporary wel- 
fare may be the result of these virtues. For instance, a selfish. man 
may be industrious, and may prosper, not because he is selfish, but 
because he is industrious. But what are all the riches of vicious 
men when contrasted with the true inward prosperity of the good 
man ? Afliiction makes him acquainted with patience ; impoverish- 
ment leaves him in possession of bis dearest property ; when banished 
from bis home, he has a home in bis own soul to which he can 
retire, and even the darkness of a dungeon will be relieved by the 
light of a good conscience. He cares not how long, but how well, he 
may live ; and he cares not where he may die ; for out of every 
country there is a straight path to heaven. There is a wrongnotion 
abroad that the common people cannot be wise and good, because 

*The word Laie (layman) is still understood in Gerniany as tlie opposite of Gelehrter 
(a scholar). 



they are not learned clerks. Now I deplore thc neglect of learn- 
ing. I fear that if Aristotle were living now, he would find no 
Alexander to reverence him. But I say there is a sort of learning 
which every man ought to have. He who directs Iiis life well, under- 
stands thc best sort of grammar : to speak from the heart, and teil 
the truth, is very good dialectic, and it will scrve very well for rhe- 
toric also : he who runs up a long score of good actions, succeeds 
well in arithmctic : and the man whose life is starry with virtues, is 
a famous astronomer. This is the kind of education which all the 
people ought to have.' 

Stricker wrote a series of short tales and fahles, connected by 
moralising passages, in 1230. To this book he gave the title ' Die 
Welt ' — (' The World ') . It is marked by a populär and democratic 
tendency, and is füll of severe censures upon the aristocracy. An- 
other book of a similar character, but of greater harshness of satire, 
was entitled ' Der Kenner,' and was written by Hugo of Trimberg at 
the close of the thirteenth Century. The writer appears to have 
been a man of some learning. He teils us that he called bis book 
1 Der Kenner' ('The Kunner '), because he intended it to run througli 
the length and breadth of the country, and this intention was fairly 
fulfilled; for Freidank's little book and 1 Der Kemier' retained their 
places as favourites among the German people down to the sixteenth 
Century; and Sebastian Brandt, a congenial writer, reproduced 
Hugo's satirical work in 1549. This book is characterised by the 
greatest independence of thought and freedom of expression. The 
only moral authority which Hugo will admit is in the Scriptures, 
and he complains that many of the higher classes in his times knew 
1 more of the adventures of Prince Arthur than of the Bible.' We 
can hardly present one literary extract from this earnest little book ; 
for it is so füll of violent satire and hivective against the aristocracy 
and the clergy, that its unimpeded circulation and popularity is a 
curious instance of the lenity or the oversight of the ecclesiastical 
authorities. If Hugo had addressed his discourse vivd voce to 
a congregation of a few hundreds, he would probably have been 
silenced ; but, through his book, he was allowed to address tens of 
thousands in the most effectual mamier. And such was the in- 
fluence of ' The Kunner' and shnilar books, that we may clearly trace 
from 1300 to the era of the Keformation the progress of a school of 
lay-doctrine which was opposed to a great part of the teaching of 
the Church, and yet was allowed to prevail among the people. The 
didactic contents of Hugo's book were varied by many humorous 
and satirical fables, of which the following is a specimen: — 


' Sly Keynard, with the Wolf, one day, 
Travelled to Borne, and on their way 


They overtook tlic Ass, and so 
All threc to Rome togcther go. 
And when they saw the city ncar, 
The Wolf said to Iiis consin dear — 
" Reynard, my plan l'li name to von : — 
The Pope, wc know, has rauch to do : 
I doubt if he can spend Iiis tirae 
To hear our catalogues of crime. 
'Twill spare soine trouble for the Pope 
(And also for ourselves, I hope, 
As we may 'scape with penance less), 
If to each other we confess : 
Let each describe Iiis greatest sin — 
80, without preface, I'll begin. 
To notice trifles I disdain ; 
But one fact gives my conscience pain. 
'Tis this : — there dwelt beside the Rhino 
A man who lived by feeding swine. 
He had a sow who ramblcd wide, 
While all her pigs with hunger cried. 
At last I longcd on pork to dine — 
I killed and ate that cruel swine. 
Her little ones, deserted now, 
Oft moved my pity, I'll avow ; 
I ended all their woes one night — 
Jiow let my punishment be light !"' 
u Well," said the Fox, " your sin was 

And hardly can for penance call ; 

For such a venial transgression 

You'vc made amends by this confession. 

And now I'll do as you have done ; 

Of all my sins I'll name but one : 

A man such noisy fowls would keep, 

That no one near Iiis house could sleep ; 

The crowings of Iiis chanticleer 

Disturbed the country fax and near. 

Distracted by the noisc, one night 

I went and stopped Iiis crowing quite ; 

But this feat ended not the matter ; 

The hens bcgan to crow and chatter ; 

And so (the deed I slightly rue) 

I killed them and their chickens too." 

■ Well," said the Wolf, " to hush that din 

Was surely no alarming sin. 

Abstain from poultry for three days, 

And, if you like, amend your ways. 

But now the Ass must be confessed — 

Donkey ! how far have you transgressed \ n 



u Ah !" said the Ass with dismal bray, } 
" You know I have not much to say ; > 
For I have toiled from day to day, ) 
And done for master Service good, 
In carrying water, corn, and wood ; 
But once, in winter-time, 'tis true, 
I did what I perhaps must nie :— 
A countryman, to keep him warm 
(We had, just then, a snowy storm), 
Had put some straw into Iiis shoeü — - 
To bite it I could not refuse ; 
And so (for hunger Avas my law) 
I took, or stole, a single straw." 

"There ! say no more !" the Fox cxclaimed ; 

" For want of straw that man was lamed ; 

His feet were bitten by the frost ; 

'Tis probable his life was lost. 

AVhat shall be done to such a sinner ? 

The Wolf must have you for his dinner." 7 

Such simple and humorous fables, often conveying some sly 
satire against the clergy and the nobility, were the most populär 
productions of the Middle Ages. But the most remarkable satire 
of this period was the epic fable of ' Eeynard, the Fox,' which 
had a veiy early origin, and has remained as a favourite of the 
German people for several centuries. There is even some reason 
to suppose that this long fable was populär in some form among 
the Franks in the fifth Century. The heroes of the tale are all 
animals : Isengrim (the wolf), Reginhart (the fox), and Brüno (the 
bear) ; and many others were added as the original was altered and 
enlarged. It is impossible to assign the authorship of this fable 
to any particular name or date. A Latin Version, styled 1 Isen- 
grim,' was written in the beginning of the twelfth Century. About 
the middle of the same period, Heinrich der Gleisner of Alsace 
reproduced the tale in an extended form in German, and after- 
wards it passed through several other versions. In the fifteenth Cen- 
tury it was translated into Low-German, or Dutch, by Baumann, 
and this version was for some time erroneously regarded as an 
original work. Again 'Eeynard' reappeared as a populär work 
at the era of the Reformation. Even Goethe amused his leisure 
by writing a modernised version of this old fable. German artists 
have bestowed upon it many illustrations. The nature of the 
story may be easily imagined : Reynard's tricks involve him in 
many perplexities, out of which he escapes by reacly wit : at last 
he is tried at the court of King Lion, where the wolf, the bear, 
the ass, the dog — in short, almost the whole family of quadrupeds 



— appear as witnesses against him, and their testimony is so con- 
clusive, that he is condemncd to be hanged immediately. The 
executioners — the bear and the cat — hurry the prisoner away to 
the scafFold, where a great crowd is impatiently waiting to be 
edified by the final scene. Keynard mounts the platform solemnly, 
but does not even now despair of life. ' I now see death imme- 
diately before me,' says he, ' and I only beg permission to address 
a few words of simple truth and penitence to the people. They 
may possibly serve as a warning to other offenders.' ' If he is 
allowed to speak five words,' says the bear, adjusting the cord on 
the prisoner's neck, ' he will escape even now ! ' But the king 
grants the request of Keynard, who thus begins his very humble 
confession : — 


' I see not one in all this throng 
To whom I have not done some wrong ; 
And now, upon the scafFold here, 
I wish to make my conscience clear. 
I will not even one sin conceal : 
When but a cub, I learned to steal. 
How well I recollect the day 
When first I saw young lambs at play, 
And carried off my earliest prey ! 
From little crimes I passed to great. 
The Wolf soon chose me as his mate : 
tt Our compact," so he said, " was fated, 
Because our families were related." 
I cannot teil our murders all — 
He killed the great, and I the small ; 
But this (with death so near) Fll say — . 
He never gave me half the prey ! 
With selfishness and hunger keen, 
He often left the bones too clean. 
Yet hunger I have never known : 
I had a pantry all my own ; 
Of booty such a plenteous störe, 
'Twould serve me for my life and more : 
All stolen ! 'Twas a wicked thing ; 
And yet — that theft preserved the King ! 
For there was at that time, you see, 
A very foul conspiracy 
To kill the King ! (With death so near, 
I'll teil it all !) These traitors here— 
(Yet what for me will it avail 
To teil it ? 'Tis a frightful tale !)" ' 

The cnriosity of the queen is cxcited by these dark insinuations, 
and she begs a respite for Keynard, who descends from the scaffold 


in sly triumph, to give to the king füll particulars of the fabulous 
conspiracy. Düring the consequent investigation, Keynard makes 
his escape with impunity. 

Collections of jokes and burlesque anecdotes were veiy populär 
during tliis and the following period. Stricker, already mentioned 
as a writer of satirical fables, was the author of a favourite book 
entitled ' Parson Amis,' which relates the exploits of a travelling 
impostor, who is said to have been an Englishman, and whose 
career was a continuous triumph of ready wit and cunning. For 
instance, a bishop, having heard of the tricks of Parson Amis, 
pays a visit to the delinquent, and the following conversation 
takes place : — ■ 


Bishop. You profess to have great cunning ; but for your roguery 
you deserve to lose your living. Now I shall put two or three 
questions to you, and if you do not answer them correctly, you must 
lose your parish. 

Amis. Very well, my lord ; I hope I shall be able to reply so as 
to please you. 

Bishop. How many days have passed away since the time of 
Adam ? 

A mis. Only seven, my lord, but repeated many times. 
Bishop. Where is the middle of the world ? 

Amis. My parish church is situated exactly on the spot, my lord. 
If you do not believe me, you can send your servants to measure 
the world ; but of course I shall keep my living until they have 
done it. 

Bishop. You shall not escape in this way, sir. How far is it from 
earth to heaven ? 

Amis. It is exactly as far as my voice can be heard, my lord. If 
you will go up, I will stand here and shout ; and if you do not hear 
me, of course I shall forfeit my church. 

Bishop. I am determined to puzzle you, sir. You have boasted 
that you could teach an ass to read : now, if you do not prove that 
asser tion true, you shall lose your place. Now, sir. 

Amis. Very well, my lord. I will do what I have said ; but even 
a clever man requires some twenty years to master any science : 
now, to teach an ass to read, I must have thirty years allowed, and 
then I shall be ready to leave my parish if the task is not done. 

Such were the jokes of the thirteenth Century. All the produc- 
tions which have been mentioned in this section were written in 
short and familiär verses. Of German prose during this period 
little can be said, for it hardly existed. The remains which have 
been preserved are chiefly found in a collection of sermons remark- 
able for their simplicity and warmth of style. In these times 
missionaries of the Orders of Mendicant Friars travelled through 



the country preacliing with zeal and great effect, sometimes in 
cathedrals, and at other times under a tree in a village, or on a 
hill-side. We read of Berthold, one of the Franciscan friars, tliat 
thousands of the people followed him from one place to another, 
and that Iiis congregation was sometimes numbered at twenty 
thonsand. It is curious to find in one of the sermons of this friar, 
who died in 1272, a passage like the following, which may remind 
us of the style of Jeremy Taylor : — 

' I will show, by an example, how little we can say worthily of 
the glory of God. What can a child unborn know of the glory of 
this world in which we dwell ? Of the bright sun, the sparkling 
stars, the splendours of jewels, or the virtues of plants and trees ; 
of the music of various instruments, or the melodies of many birds ; 
or of the splendid array of gold and silk produced by the skill of 
men ? What can the child say of these things ? And thus we are 
incapable of speaking worthily of the wonderful pleasures of Para- 
dise. As the moon, the stars, and the planets, borrow all their lighfc 
from the sun, so all the heavenly hosts of saints and angels, from 
the highest to the lowest, receive all their gladness, brightness, 
honour, majesty, and beauty, from the countenance of the Lord. It 
is because they look upon Him that they become so beautiful.' 

A short extract from another of Berthold's sermons may serve 
to show the popularity of versitication during this period : — 

'I exhort you, my hearers, to be on your guard against these 
heretics. But you say, " Brother Berthold, how shall we discover 
them, as they are so much like good people ?" Well, I will teil you 
how to find them out by seven words ; and I should like these seven 
words to be made into a song, that so you might all sing it, and re- 
member it until your death. Kow, if there is a ballad-maker in my 
congregation, let him mark these words, and put them into a song, 
and let it be short and sweet, and ring so prettily, that even the little 
children may learn it and sing it. There once lived a bad heretic, 
who put Iiis false doctrines into songs, and taught the children to sing 
them about the streets : and I should like now to use Iiis own plan 
against him and all who are like him.' 

In concluding these notices of German poetry in the age of 
ehivalry, we must observe that our specimens of vernacular pro- 
ductions do not give any just notion of the learning of this period. 
Frederick II. was the patron of many scholars, and favoured the 
progress of universities. In Iiis address which accompanied a pre- 
ßent of the works of Aristotle to the university of Bologna, he 
wrote : — 1 Science (or literature) must always attend the progress 
of legislation and the pursuit of war ; for without that learning 
which enlightens and strengthens the mind, all our plans of con- 
quest and government may lead only to ignorance, sensual indo- 
lence, and barbarism.' 



Tins period, extending from the reign of Rudolphus I. to the 
bcginning of the Reformation, was crowded with events of social 
importance, while its literature was remarkably poor. Some of 
its movements might liave supplied clioice materials for novelists 
and dramatists ; but it was especially a time of decay in poetry. 
Some attempts were made to continue the series of national 
legends ; but they are hardly worthy of notice. The palmy days 
of the minstrels and romancists were now passing away. Rudol- 
phus was an economical prince, who mended his own doublet to 
spare money, and as he had no taste for minstrelsy, the composers 
of songs who went to his court found no rewards there. Still 
some inferior princes encouraged versification; but the prizes 
were now so much reduced in value, that many knights and noble- 
men left the field in favour of inferior competitors. Chaplains, 
doctors, schoolmasters, weavers, blacksmiths, and shoemakers now 
endeavoured to mend their fortunes by rhyming. A versifying 
mania pervaded all classes of society. There is no exaggeration 
in this statement, though it may read like a caricature. It is 
worthy of notice that in this time, as poetry sank rapitlly into 
dulness and commonplace, the so-called poets rose proportionally 
in conceit and arrogance. The worst versification claimed the 
highest reward ; and Rudolphus was most bitterly satirised because 
he would not patronise poetasters like Beheim and Suchenwirt. 
The vocation of minstrelsy in these times was frequently connected 
with the profession of heraldry, and was generally venal and 

Michael Beheim may fairly represent the writers of verse during 
this period. He was born in low circumstances in 1421, and 
learned the trade of a weaver; but some nobleman unwisely en- 
couraged him to leave this trade, and try the profession of min- 
strelsy. Accordingly he visited various courts, where he recited 
verses on such topics as ancestry and heraldry, and was ready to 
celebrate in verse the virtues of any gentleman who would pay. 
The venality of the times appears without any disguise in the ad- 
ventures of Beheim as related by himself, which present a sad 
caricature of the profession of such minstrels as Wolfram and 
Walter. When turned away with contempt by several courts, 
Beheim lamented that he had ever left his loom. We shall not 





wonder that he failed as a poct, when we have read tlie following 
specimen of Iiis verscs : — 

1 I mean to weave fine lincn-cloth no more ; 
Yet I am not ashamed of my old trade : 
It served me very -well in days of yore, 
Ere, as a minstrel, from my home I strayed. 
But now (I liope it will not starve me quite) 
The other trade (of rhymo) I have to ply ; 
To make good vcrses now is my delight, 
And must be, I suppose, until I die. 
Yet 'twould be well to throw all rhymes aside : 
With poverty I have continual strife ; 
In search of friends I wander far and wide — 
I never was so ragged in my life ! ' 

Another poor minstrel of this time, named Regenbogen, makes 
a similar confession; but pleads that distress first excited him to 
make verses. He says : — 

' I, Regenbogen, was a smith, and in my trade I toiled, 
But poverty upon me feil, and all my efforts foiled ; 
Therefore I sought another trade, and turned to making rhyme, 
But hcartily I now rcpent such wasting of my time !' 

These notices show to what a low eondition minstrelsy was re- 
duced. But some versifiers who understood the tendency of their 
times, and wrote eomic, didactic, and satirical pieces, to suit the 
populär taste, foimd considerable success. A monk named Boner, 
for instance, wrote, in 1330, a book of short stories and fables, 
which became very populär. It was one of the first books of 
whieh copies were multiplied by printing, as it was issued from 
the press in 1461. The following is a specimen of its contents: — 


* Fve read about a certain knight, 
AYhose son's poor wits were never bright j 
But still the father was resolved 
The difficulty should be solved, 
And that Iiis son, so dull and dark, 
Should prove a very learned clerk : 
John, he determincd, should be sent 
To Paris : — so the darling went, 
And there succeeded very well 
In — spending more than I can teil. 
He drank and playcd ; but there's a doubt 
Whether bis books were well worn out. 
Some years (and florins) passed away, 
And then the son returned one day. 



The father spread Iiis daintiest cheer 

For friends who camc from far and near, 

Congratulating sire and son 

For all the lore at Paris won. 

John drew a long and studious face 

(For every dunce may learn grimace) : 

He nodded well, and shook Iiis head, 

And, wisely, very little said. 

Then, when the dinner-time was o'cr, 

He stood beside an open door, 

And studiously beheld the sky — 

The moon Avas shining, füll and high. 

Then whispered some good friends together : 

" He knows the laws of winds and weather. 

Astronomy ! — he knows it all, 

And what to-morrow will befall." 

The father was a happy man 

Until the son to talk began ; 

For opening wide his mouth, he said — 

" One thing does puzzle my poor head ; 

'Tis this : — the moon that you see there 

And that at Paris make a pair 

So much alike, I cannot see 

Their difference in the least degree ! " — 

At this the father shook his head, 

And to his friends, in anger, said : 

" Be warned by nie — don't send to school 

A boy predestined for a fool. 

My florins now I dearly rue — 

He comes, a dunce, from Paris too !"' 

Some knowledge of this very dull period is necessary, in order 
that we may form a just estimate of the Lutheran era ; for all the 
events of that era were consequences of the State of society in Ger- 
many during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The unhappy 
domestic condition of the country had been neglected during the 
enthusiasm which had attended the Crusades ; but when this excite- 
ment had passed away, discord, enmity, and violence began to pre- 
vail between the clergy, the nobility, and the lower classes of society. 
National literature from 1300 to 1517 consisted in a great measure 
in bitter satires. Indeed we might, in aecordance with facts, pro- 
ceed farther, and say that, from the beginning of the fourteenth 
to the micldle of the seventeenth Century, the most remarkabie 
literature was of a satirical description. These three centuries and 
a-half of satire were also times of severe political and ecclesias- 
tical contentions. The intellectual worlcl truly represented the con- 
dition of society. Wien we read the violent and unpolished in- 
vectives of any one of the countless satirists of these times, we arc 



disposed to suspect exaggeration in his censures ; but after read- 
ing the same complaints expressed by many writers, in various 
tinies and places, we must be convinced that they had real groimds 
for their discontent. Walter, the minstrel, began the satirical 
style. His moral poems are füll of such passages as the following : 
■ — ' Faithlessness is in all onr ways ; violence is in our streets ; 
peace and justice are wounded. K I look through crcation, I find 
signs of hatred and strife among all creatures ; yet order is pre- 
served; but among men we have anarchy. 1 Reinmar, another 
minstrel, employs similar complaints. Hugo says : — ' Robberies, 
murders, and burning of houses, are the sacrifices we offer to Hea- 
ven. Our laws are all venal : a righteous judge is a white raven.' 
Ivonrad, a monk, wrote on the necessity of new regulations between 
the peasantry and their lords. Suchenwirt says : — ' The valour 
of our knights is now displayed in the cruel extortions Avhich they 
practise on the Jews and others.' Regenbogen, the rhyming 
blacksmith, not only complained bitterly, but suggcsted a remedy 
for the evils of his times. He says: — 'The clergy, the nobility, 
and the peasantry, should unite for the good of the country ; but 
these three classes are now Irving in enmity.' Lastly, Rosenplut 
wrote a satire in which he introduced the ' Grand Sultan ' as the 
' reformer ' of Christendom. 

Among the minstrels of this period, one named Oswald may be 
noticed, as Iiis verses contain many curious details of a life of 
stränge adventure, and also of the manners of his times. There 
may be some exaggeration in his Statements, but, on the whole, 
they present a fair view of the career of an adventurer in the four- 
teenth Century. Oswald von "VVolkenstein, descended from a 
noble family in the Tyrol, was born in 1367. He teils us that, 
during his boyhood, he learned ' to ride, to sing, to play on the 
violin, the harp, the drum, and the trumpet,' and also ' the science 
of cookery.' Iiis imagination was so excited by the perusal of 
romances, that, when ten years old, he followed a Company of 
knights who were travelling from Austria to Prussia. He was 
employed as a squire, and gained favour by his talents in min- 
strelsy. Subsequently he wandered over Germany and other 
parts of the continent ; then travelled in England and Ireland ; and, 
in 1388, was engaged in warfare in Scotland. After his return to 
the north of Germany, he accompanied a mercantile expedition to 
the peninsula of Crimea, and visited Armenia and Persia. Ile 
then earned a passage to Candia by acting ' as a cook in the ves- 
sel.' After shipwreck, battles, and many other adventures, he 
returned to his home when twenty-five years old ; but his friends 
did not know him, as his face was sunburnt and wrinkled, his hair 
was partly gray, and he had lost an eye. These misfortunes, 



however, he regarded as proofs of 'bold knighthood,' and now 
paid his addresses to 'a fair lady named Sabina.' This lady did 
not estccm his Services as sufficient to merit her hand, but bade 
liini win it by making a pilgrimage to Palestine. Long beforc 
Oswald arrived at Jerusalem, Sabina was married to another 
knight. In 1401, Oswald was fighting against the Moors in Spain. 
To reward his merits as a knight and a minstrel, the queen of 
Arragon, with her own band, pierced his ears, and ' decorated 
them with costly rings.' Soon afterwards he was in France, where 
'the queen suspended a fine diamond on his beard.' He then 
accompanied the Emperor Sigmund in a canipaign against the 
Hussites in Bohemia, and made satirical verses on John Huss. 
Oswald was, in fact, a wandering, mercenary soldier, like 1 Dugald 
Dalgetty,' and would either fight, sing, or play the harp, or dress 
a dinner, for any master who would pay. In one of his verses he 
sums up all his adventures and accomplishments, telling us that 
he had travelled over Europe and many parts of Asia, and ' had 
talked in ten languages, including French, Latin, Italian, German, 
Spanish, and Arabic.' He died hi 1445. Such was the life of one 
of that class of wandering minstrels which feil into decay during 
this period. 

Many productions which passed under the name of poetry in 
this time are not worthy of particular description. Doctors now 
wrote the rules of health, and prescribed medicines in proper metre 
and rhyme. The peasant despised his almanac if it did not contain 
a fair proportion of verses. Peter Suchenwirt advertised the 
fact, that he was ready, for a 1 consideration,' to make any number 
of verses upon any gentleman's coat of arms ! One writer reduced 
all the laws and stratagems of the game of chess to rhyme, and 
another wrote a poem on Crockery! 

In the fifteenth Century, versifying clubs were established in 
many towns, such as Mayence, Nuremberg, and Ulm, and became 
very populär. Mechanics united themselves to serve the Muses 
as well as they could. At Colmar, for instance, the shoemakers 
formed a club or singing-school for the exercise of pious versi- 
fication; while in another town, the weavers, after putting aside 
their Shuttles in the evening, repaired to the singing-school, and 
there recited and sung the verses which they had composed while 
employed m their looms. The motives of these good and honest 
men may screen even the homely poetry which they produced from 
ridicule ; for they appear to have devoted their Services to religion. 
In a collection of the verses of one club which has been preserved, 
we find the following simple lines : — 

'By making pious hymns we strive 
Coarse ballads from our streets to drive ; 



For evcry night we hear witli sliame 
Such songs as we refuse to naiue ; 
To silcnce all thesc idlc lays, 
We meet and sing our Maker's praisc.' 

There is, indeed, something very pleasing in the conduct of theso 
poor people of the Middle Ages, who, in dark times, when there 
were few wholesome intellectual excitements, met thus together, 
and found solace, after their toil, in reciting and singing verses. 
Devotional music was cultivated in these schools, and the produc- 
tion of new psalm-tunes amused the leisure of many mechanics. 
Strict rules were observed with regard to the composition of these 
tunes. Thus, in one club, it was laid down as a law that 'no 
member should bring forward as an original composition any tune 
of which one line had been heard before ! 1 In several clubs texts 
from the Scriptures were the only topics allowed for versification. 
These verses were sometimes recited in the churches after the 
Services of Sunday. The preacher announced 'that all persons 
who wished to hear the poets recite their own pieces rnight remain 
at the conclusion of Service.' Each club had a president and 
several inferior officers. The moral orthodoxy and metrical com- 
position of the verses recited were strictly criticised; the whole 
business was very solemnly conduct ed, and the versifier to whom 
the prize was awarded was distinguished by a badge of honour. 
These societies, which. supplied the want of such recreation as may 
now be found in our reading-rooms and literary institutions, must 
have been well supported by populär favour ; for we find that the 
school at Nuremberg lived to 1770, and a singing and versifying 
school of considerable antiquity was solemnly closed at Ulm as 
recently as the year 1839. 

Apart from these schools, many populär songs were produced 
during this period, and have been preserved to the present day. 
These were productions of the heart, so true and simple, and so well 
married to music of a similar character, that, when once heard, 
they could not be forgotten. Indeed they became so rooted in 
the memory of the people, that, after the lleformation, the writers 
and composers of hymns and psalm-tunes thought it expedient to 
employ the mclodies, and, in some instances, even the words of the 
old populär songs. 


In this period we find the first Symptoms of a German Drama 
in rüde attempts to perform religious pieces like the old mysteries 
once populär in England. At first, these dramatic readings from 
the Scriptures were conducted in churches under the superinten- 



dcnce of the priests, and the Latin langnage was employed; but 
when the people introduced burlesque digrcssions into sacred sub- 
jects, exliibitions of this kindwere forbidden in the cliurches. The 
consequence was, the people removed their theatrical ' properties ' 
into the open field, and here assumed greater licenses. The ver- 
nacular language was now employed, and solemn events recordcd 
in the Scriptures were represented surrounded with grotesque cir- 
cumstances. The spectacles prepared for exhibition on Shrove- 
Tuesday were exceedingly attractive. Students from universities 
clehghted to take parts in them. ' Properties ' of every descrip- 
tion were collected without any regard for correctness of costume. 
Sometimes the Corporation of a town would lend their robes to 
deck Scriptural characters, and thus ' Judas ' might be seen in the 
dress of a German burgomaster, and even ' angels ' did not find bet- 
ter treatment. These stränge exliibitions were continued after the 
Reformation. In 1571 a great spectacle entitled ' Saul ' was per- 
formed hi fifty acts, requiring one hundred players and five hun- 
dred pantomimists ; and in 1593 one Johann Brummer put into a 
dramatic form the whole of the Acts of the Apostles! The stage- 
directions of some pieces which have been preserved are curious. 
In one of them, for instance, all the performers (more than a hun- 
dred) take their seats on the stage, and begin the piece by singing 
a hymn. After this two angels appear and sing a response. The 
manager then steps forward and recites a prologue, in which he 
exhorts the audience to preserve silence and attention during a 
long series of dialogues. The pieces for Shrove-Tuesday were 
styled 'Fastnachtspiele,' and were generally interspersed with coarse 
jokes, for which apologies like the followhig were offered: — • 

' If aught offend you in our rhynie, 
Eemember 'tis a merry time, 
And Lent is qnickly coming on, 
When all our frolics Avill be gone.' 

An immoderate love of low humour and coarse satire was one 
of the peculiarities of this time. The most populär tales were 
such as we find in ' Parson Amis,' ' Eulenspiegel,' and other story- 
books, in which the humour is generally of a low character. This 
populär taste was severely censured by Sebastian Brandt (1458- 
1521) in his ' Narrenschiff,' or ' Ship of Fools,' a versified Satire, 
which contains the following passage : — 

< Frivolity and coarseness are canonised in our day. He who can 
make the most absurd and unseemly jest (and especially if it is on 
some serious subject), is accounted the greatest genius. This low 
taste of the people may be partly ascribed to the neglect of our so- 
called wise men, or scholars, who study everything, and are ready to 



teach anything save good morals and manners for the people. Con- 
sequently, learning itself is made to appear worthless and ridiculous ; 
and while our scholars are studying necromancy, astrology, alchemy,. 
and otlicr qnackeries, the multitude are left in brutish ignorance, 
and laugh at evcrything wise and good. And this great invention 
of printing does not raend the matter ; for the power of the press is 
already grossly abused. The printers care not what kind of books 
they send into society, but circulate fortune-teliing pamphlets, scan- 
dalons satires, anything that will win a penny. Amid this ever-in- 
creasing flood of books, the people are bewildered rather than edu- 
cated, and, after such confusing teaching as we have, it is no 
wonder if all doctrine is despised.' 

The numerous jest-books, comic stories, and satires, to which 
Brandt refers in the above passage, are not worthy of particular 
description, tliougli they are curious, as they give us some insight 
into the democratic spirit of the times when they appeared. They 
also show the exclusive and prejudicial tendency of an extreme 
taste for comic productions and satires, which is generally found 
connected with a neglect of better literature. One specimen of the 
old jocose tales to which we rcfer w T ill suffice. The ' Parson of 
Kalenberg, 1 the hero of many stories, delighted to Sport with the 
ignorance and credulity of his parishioners, and told them that,, 
on a certain day, he would fly from the steeple. All the rustics 
assembled to w T itness the feat, when the parson appeared, and 
asked ' if they had heard that such a flight had ever been made 
with safety?' f No,' was the reply. 'Then,' said he, 'how could 
you wish your priest to clo such a foolish thing?' 


Encouraged by the productions of the printing press, men of 
learning were now chiefly engaged in the study of philology, and 
this fact will account, in a great measure, for the poverty of writings 
in German prose during this period. The higher classes of society 
were amused with romances, but these were chiefly translations of 
foreign stories, which were now multiplied by the press. Two of 
the translators of these romances, Niclas, w r ho wi*ote between 1460 
and 1480, and Albrecht von Eyb, who wote during the same 
time, may be mentioned as having done something towards the 
formation of a prose style. But w r e find more interesting remains 
of these dark times in the works of several monastic chroniclers, 
who wrote very simple but graphic accounts of public events. 
Friedbich Closener, a monk attached to the cathedral of Stras- 
burg, finished m 1362 a chronicle, which has been preserved, and 
gives some gloomy descriptions of his times. In this old record we 



read of the ' Brothers of the Scourge,' who travellcd from town to 
town in dismal array, armed with whips and scourges, with which 
they publicly lashed themselves. This specics of fanaticism spread 
so rapidly, that at last the civil magistrates interfered to put a stop 
to the practice. In the middle of the fourteenth Century famine 
and pestilence prevailed over a great part of Gerniany, and these 
evils produced in many minds a disposition to gloomy fanaticism. 
Terrible persecutions of the Jews also took place ; for there was 
an absurd populär belief that these unhappy people had produced 
the pestilence by poisoning all the Springs of water throughout 
Europe ! Closener records these enormities in the following style : 
'In this year there was a great burning of the Jews in many of 
the towns situated on the Rinne. The people, believing that the 
Jews had poisoned the waters, set fire to their houses, and gathered 
round them so as to prevent their escaping from the flames.' The 
civil and ecclesiastical authorities endeavoured, too late, to repress 
these fearful outrages, which had been encouraged by unjust laws 
and cruel prejudices. On the whole, the title of the 'dark ages,' 
which has been used to denominate the Middle Ages generally, 
may be especially applied to the fourteenth and tifteenth centu- 
ries. The persecutions and sanguinary contentions in Bohemia 
which followed the Promulgation of the doctrines of John Huss, 
were dismal features of these times. 

Even the great and good events of this period had no immediate 
beneficial mfluence on the people. Cities were improving, and 
commerce was rapidly extending. Pliysical science now produced 
some of its most valuable discoveries — the mariner's compass, the 
measurement of time by clocks, and extended navigation. But 
even the invention of printing did not immediately encourage the 
progress of humanising literature among the people, as it was at 
lirst devoted to multiply copies of ancient and classical works. 
John Guttenberg, who was bona at Mentzin 1401, invented the 
use of moveable types, and communicated Iiis discovery to Iiis 
townsmen John Faust and Peter Schöffer, who afterwards con- 
trived to exclude the inventor from all partieipation hi the profits 
of Iiis speculation. Guttenberg died in a condition of poverty and 
dependence in 14G8. In the year 1457, Faust and his partners 
produced their lirst printed book, the Latin version of the Psalms ; 
and in 1462 the entire Bible issued from the press. The price of 
a copy of the Scriptures immediately feil from five hundred to 
thirty Horms. 

The most important writings of tliis period are found in the 
department of theology. Geiler, the populär preacher of Iiis 
times, who died m 1510, wrote many sermons which have been 
preserved. He agreed with Brandt in his condemnation of the low 



taste for mockery and satirc which prevailcd arnong the people. 
Iiis sermons contain many low and ridiculous images, by which he 
endeavoured to conciliate the taste of his congTegations. 

Geiler wrote a series of sermons entitled ' The Christian Pilgri- 
mage to the Eternal Fatherland,' which was published in 1512. 
Another series of his sermons bears the following singiüar title : — 
* A Spiritual Interpretation of the Hare, with Instructions how to 
Prepare it in Pepper; giving clear Information how every Man 
who would become Religious, avoid Sin, and lead a Penitential Life, 
must imitate the qualities of that timorous, insignincant, little 
animal, the Hare' (1502). The comparisons employed in this 
series of sermons are very fanciful and ludicrous. For instance, 
the preacher says, 1 A hare has long ears, which are very quick in 
receiving sounds, and these signify the attention with which we 
should listen to the Scriptures. 1 Again, ' A hare can run more 
ninibly up a hill than down, and this shows that a Christian should 
be more ready to ascend the hill of virtue than to run down the 
steep of vice.' Such were the materials employed by the most 
populär divine of the fifteenth Century; but we must add, that 
when Geiler turned to piain moral doctrine, he presented whole- 
some truths to his hearers. 

Johannes Pauli was by birth a Jew, but became a monk, and 
collected and edited the sermons of Geiler. He also wrote a book 
entitled 1 Joke and Earnest for all Trades ; a work containing many 
Pleasant and True Stories, Amusing Examples, and Remarkable 
Events; by the Venerable Father and Brother Johannes Pauli, a 
monk of the Barefooted Order' (1538). The humour of these stories 
is often extravagant, but they generally carry obvious morals. In 
one, an abbot is accused of bemg deficient in learning, and the 
Pope therefore examhies hhn in Latin grammar. ' Wliat part of 
speech is pevpaV (the Pope) was the first question; and the illite- 
rate abbot jocosely replied, ' He is a participle; for he takes a 
part from the clergy, and another part from the laity.' ' Go 
away,' said the Pope; ' you know quite enough.' The following 
is a speeimen of the laconic and serious style of Pauli — • 


' A father gave all his property to his son. After this the old man 
was neglected, and at last, when his coat was very ragged, he begged 
Iiis careless sou to give hhn a new one ; but the son gave only a piece 
of rag, and said, " Patch your old coat with that." Now the little 
grandson of the old man, hearing these words, begged his father to 
give to him also an old rag. When he reeeived it, he went away 
and lud it. The father, who saw the action, asked the child to explain 
his motive, and the boy replied, " I shall wait until you are an old 
man, and then I will give it to you to patch your coat, as you have 



given thc otlier rag to my grandfather." This reproof changcd tlio 
conducfc of tlie undutiful son.' 

Petermann Etterlin wrote a 1 Chronicle of the Swiss Confede- 
racy,' which Avas printed at Basel in 1507. A short passage will 
ßüOW thc very simple style in which the work was written : — ■ 


* Hermann Gesslcr, the Vogt (or governor), had ordcred Iiis ser- 
vants to place a hat on thc top of a stick which was stuck in the 
ground, and a command was given that all the Swiss peasants, when 
they passed by this hat, must bow before it. Now there was in the 
country an honest man named William Teil, who had secretly joined 
the Company of Stauffacher and other patriots. This Teil had often 
walked to and fro before the hat on the stick, but had refused to do 
homage to it. So the sentinels who guarded the hat complained of 
Tell's conduct to the governor. Gessler sent for Teil, and asked, at 
first in a friendly way, why he had refused to bow to the hat accord- 
ing to command. Teil said, " Gracious sir, I did not know that you 
intended the law to be understood so strictly : if I did, my name is 
not William Teil. So I hope you will impute my fault to ignorance." 
Now Teil was as clever a marksman as you could find in the land ; 
and he had a family of pretty children, who were all very dear to him. 
So the governor, who had a cruel mind, secretly sent one of his 
servants to bring Tell's children : when they came, he said to the 
father, " Teil me which of these is dearest to you?" and Teil replied, 
" I love them all alike." Then said Gessler, " I have beeu told 
that you are a very good marksman. Now I must see your skill. I 
shall put an apple on the head of this boy, and if you can strike off 
the apple Avith your arrow, I shall say you are a good archer." Teil 
was shocked when he heard this, and prayed that the Vogt would 
not insist on such a trial ; but Gessler commanded that it should be 
done. So Teil took two arrows, and put one in his quiver, and 
fitted the other on the string. Then he prayed to God and the 
Virgin that they would spare the life of the child. He drew his bow ; 
the arrow Struck the apple, and the boy escaped unhurt. Gessler was 
pleased, and said, " Teil is a good shot ! " But then he asked, " Why 
did you put the other arrow in your quiver ?" Teil said, " It is a cus- 
tom among archers." But the governor would not take this answer. 
So now Teil Avas in trouble, for none of his comrades Avere near to 
defend him. Then Gessler put the question again, and said, " If 
you Avill teil me the truth, I Avill promise to spare your life ?" So 
Teil replied, * As you have promised to spare my life, you shall 
knoAv the truth. If the first arrow had hurt my boy, the second 
Avould not have missed you, or one of your followers !"' 

The most remarkable books in German prose w T ere the works 
of some monks of the mystic school, who Avrote in Opposition to 
the scholastic divinity of their times. HEINRICH Seusze (1300- 



13G5) was a Dominican monk, wlio wrote some sermons in a simple 
and earnest style. Johann Tauler (1290-1361) was the author 
of some mystical discourses, which Luther, almost two centuries 
afterwards, read with pleasure, and recommended. While the 
scholastic divines who wrote in Latin introduced abstruse meta- 
physics into theology, Tauler and the other mystic writers repre- 
sented religion as consisting in the sentiments of the heart 
rather than in doctrines. Their main principle was, that piety 
depended not upon any ecclesiastical forms or ceremonies, but 
consisted in the abandonment of all selfish passions. Yet these 
opposed parties, the Mystics and the Scholastics, did not engage 
in controversy. but left their doctrines to produce contentions in 
another age. The sentiments of the mystic writers were collected 
and arranged by some unknown author, in a littlc book entitled 
4 German Theology.' Luther wrote a preface to this book, in 
which he expressed admiration of its Contents, and asserted that 
he had found in it the doctrines of the Reformation. After this 
it became so populär, and was regarded by the Romish Church as 
so dangerous, that m 1G21 it was placed in the ' catalogue of pro- 
hibited books.' It must be observed here, that although Luther 
found some principles in which he accordcd with the mystic 
writers, he by no means maintained the exact opinions of Tauler 
and Seusze. The fact was, that when Luther expressed Iiis 
general admiration of the views of Tauler, he did not understand 
tlieir essential tendency, which was in favour of an extreme liberty 
of speculation and other principles which the Reformers did not 
tolerate. The divergency from the tenets of the Romish Church 
was greater among the Mystics of the fourteenth, than among the 
Lutherans and Reformers of the sixteenth Century, and the tolera- 
tion, or rather the neglect of the innovating tendencies of Tauler 
and his associates, can be explained only by the unpretending and 
imcontroversial character of their writings, which were probably 
contemned by all scholastic divines. 

Another book may be mentioned here — the widely-circulated 
trcatise on the ' Imitation of Christ,' which was written in Latin. 
Some doubts have been raised respecting the authorship of this 
work; but it has been generally received as the production of 
Thomas a Kempis, a monk who died in 1471, aged ninety-two 
years. It has passed through numberless editions, and still main- 
tains its place among the Standard devotional works of Germany 
and other countries. A translation of the Bible was issued m this 
period, and bears marks of the style of the mystic writers, being 
much inferior to the subsequent version by Luther in precision 
and energy. 

The Systems of scholastic theology and metaphysics which 



prevailed in the Middle Ages require no dcscription here, as thcy 
did not especially belong to Germany, and had no connection 
with its national literature. They were developed in many folio 
volumes of Latin, füll of subtile reasonings upon subjects which 
lay far bcyond the bounds of the human understancling. There 
is much significance in the contrast found between the scholastic 
writings of the clergy, and the low, satirical literature of the 
pcople during the Middle Ages. We cannot describe wider ex- 
tremes of thought than are found here. 

The rescarches of some students of philology in the fifteenth 
Century contributed towards the advancemcnt of learning. As one 
example of this class of writers, Johann Wessel (1419-1489) 
may be mentioned. This zealous biblical Student visited Rome, 
where Pope Sixtus IV. offered him preferment ; but Wessel said, 
' I do not want a bishopric, but shall be happy if I can obtain a 
eopy of the Bible in Hebrew and Greek.' Johann Reuchlin, born 
in 1450, was one of the greatest scholars of this period. He wrote 
a lexicon and a grammar of the Greek language, and was the tutor 
of Melancthon, who became celebrated among the Reformers. 

The preceding brief notices have shown that this period was 
more interesting in a social and ecclesiastical, than in a literary 
point of view. The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were times 
of transition, and marked by that confusion which generally at- 
tencls the first growth of democratic opinions. Many who could 
rudely satirise existing iustitutions, had no clear ideas respecting 
any new order of society. Low comic and satirical productions 
were the only populär literature of these times. Men of learning 
and taste were chiefly occupied with classical studies, and ne- 
glected the literature of their native country. Society was divided 
into two classes — the educated and the uneducated ; and no whole- 
some communication existed between these two extremes. The 
literati of this period had forgotten the doctrine of Tirkler — ' There 
is an education which all the people ought to have. 1 If, histead of 
vulgär jests and satires, such doctrine as we have quoted from 
Tirkler's book had been generally circulated, the Reformation 
might have taken place without being accompanied by the ex- 
cesses of populär ignorance which marked the sixteenth Century. 
Multitudes of the German peasantry were then found in such 
ignorance, that they interpreted the prophecies of Scripture in the 
crudest style, and attempted to overthrow all civil society m order 
to fulfil supposed predictions. 

Yet even in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries we find 
marks of progress. Literature, especially familiär versification, 
though inferior in quality, was produced by and for the people, 
and not for any exclusive class ; opinions in favour of liberty and 



just laws began to be generally diffuscd, and a preparation was 
madc for the important events which we find in the subsequent 


Tliis may with. propriety be styled the Lutheran Period; for 
Martin Luther (born in 1483 — died in 1546) was the most promi- 
nent character in the general literature, as well as in the theology, 
of the sixteenth Century. In several respects he may be re- 
garded as the representative of the tendencies of opinion which 
had manifested themselves in Germany in the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries. He gave a distinct shape and utterance to 
thoughts and dispositions which had been previously expressed 
in an obscure style. His influence was feit in almost every 
clepartment of life and literature ; he was, in reality, the ruler of 
German princes; his opinions were received by multitudes as 
laws ; the German literature of his time bears strong marks of his 
tastes. As he loved humour and satire, populär satirical fables 
were the favourite literature of this period. A few words from 
Luther would have put down all dramatic exhibitions in some 
parts of Germany; but as he looked on these populär amusements 
with toleration, religious spectacles and secular plays were pro- 
cluced even during the excitement attending the Reformation. 
The literary character of Luther has in some respects been esti- 
mated too highly, in accordance with his general fame ; but his 
great merit as the founder of the modern German language, espe- 
cially with regard to prose, cannot be clenied. Jacob Grimm, a 
competent authority, says, ' The language of Luther, on aecount 
of its noble, and almost wonderful purity, and the powerful in- 
fluence which it had upon his followers, may be regarded as the 
basis of our modern High German. The few deviations from 
his Standard have been generally deteriorations rather than im- 
provements.' Luther's wrkings are remarkable in another re- 
spect, as they show the migration of literature from the south to 
the north of Germany, which had for some time been in progress, 
but was hastened by the events of the Reformation. The poetry 
of the Middle Ages was produced in the south. The favourite 
haunts of the Minnesingers and the romancists of chivalry had 



been at the courts of Austria and Thuringia; but now, in tlio 
sixteentli centmy, thc Protestant north of Germany acquired that 
superiority in literature which it has. maintained to the present 
day. The greater part of modern German literature belongs to 
Prussia ; while the literature of Austria is remarkably poor, when 
compared with the extent and importance of the country. With- 
out any polemical meaning, it may be stated as a historical fact, 
that the Catholic parts of Germany have made very slight con- 
tributions to general literature since the times of Luther. 

The most prominent part of literature in the sixteenth Century 
is of course found in its polemical theology, which does not claim 
any particular description here, as it was chiefly written in the 
Latin language. The poverty of German prose during this period 
must surprise every English reader who remembers the names of 
Hooker, Ealeigh, and Bacon, who flourished as writers in the same 
time. Two causes, to which we have no counterparts in Eng- 
lish literature, will explain the slow growth of a polished style of 
prose in Germany during the sixteenth and the seventeenth Cen- 
times. The first of these causes may be found in the disturbed 
condition of religion and social life, and the civil and religious 
war which afflicted the country from the times of Luther to the 
peace of Westphalia. Some notice of the events of these times is 
necessary to explain the low condition of national literature. A 
modern historian (Gervinus) rejects the theory, that a time of 
war must be unfavourable to progress in art and literature, but 
forgets to observe that the ' Thirty Years' War ' was a civil and 
religious contest. 

On the 31st day of October, in 1517, Luther read Iiis ninety- 
five 1 Theses against Indulgences,' and thus opened the dispute 
by which all Germany was excited. In the following year he 
was summoned to appear at Rome, but gained permission to be 
examined in his native country. Accordingly, in 1519, he ap- 
peared hi a disputation with Dr Eck, the Romish controvertist. 
This dispute lasted for sixteen days, and, at the end, the opposed 
parties were as far apart as at the beginning. Meanwhile 
Luther's 'Theses' were distributed over Germany with a won- 
derful rapidity, and in the course of a month were read in many 
parts of Europe. In 1520, Luther and his friends in Wittenberg 
burned the papal bull with the canon law and Dr Eck's writ- 
ings ; thus making all plans of conciliation hopeless. The words 
' Christian liberty ' and ' Reformation ' were proclaimed through- 
out the country; but were grossly misunderstood, not only by 
thousands of the peasantry, but also by many of the nobility, 
who were ready to maintain their new faith by the use of the 
sword. Francis of Sickingen, a nobleman, raised an army of 



12,000 mcn, and, in Opposition to the advice of Luther, made an 
attack on the Archbishop of Treves. The princes of Germany 
were divided by the new doctrines ; and the Diet of Worms, which 
was intended to prevent further contests, proved a failure. The 
emperor, Charles V., who could not understand the depth and 
the extent of the movement, determined to maintain the autho- 
rity of Korne. Meanwhile Luther retired to the Castle of Wart- 
burg, where he was employed in translating the New Testament 
into German. He was soon called again into public life by the 
formidable insurrection of the peasantry, who had long been 
discontented in many parts of the country, and who now turned 
the new doctrinc to their own advantage, and proclaimed extreme 
principles of social revolution. Luther now came forward, and 
after charging the leaders of the peasantry with a gross perversion 
of the doctrine of Christian liberty, exhorted the German princes 
to unite and repress the insurrection by the most severe measures. 
As Professor Ranke has observed, ' It is impossible to teil what 
might have been the consequences with regard to society and 
civilisation if Luther had sympathised with the peasantry.' As 
it was, the conflict between the nobility and the peasantry was 
frightful and disastrous. The banks of the Rhine were lit up 
with burning Castles and monasteries, and scores of thousands of 
the misguided peasants perished in battle. Several of the princes 
now openly professed Lutheran doctrines ; while the Catholic 
princes formed a league to stop the progress of innovation. The 
Diet of Augsburg, in 1530, where the emperor was present, was 
a fruitless attempt at conciliation. On the 16th of February 
1546, Luther died, agcd 63 years. The emperor now resolved 
to reduce the Protestant princes to Submission by the force of 
arms ; but assigned political motives for his resolution, to avoid 
the appearance of engaging in a religious war. General Schärtlin, 
on the side of the Protestant princes, marched against the royal 
army, and thus was begun a series of sanguinary conflicts which 
soon covered the country with mercenary troops, called into 
action the armies of Wallenstein and Gustavus Adolphus of 
Sweden, stopped the progress of civilisation, and spread misery, 
famine, and demoralisation over Germany. Such was the wretched 
condition of the country, until the Peace of Westphalia was pro- 
claimed in 1648. In the midst of the war, the Emperor Charles 
retired to a monastery, where he passed his days in meditation and 
innocent recreations. One aneedote of his studies in this retreat 
is worthy of notice, as it gives a useful comment on the affairs of 
the Thirty Years' War. It is said that Charles amused his leisure 
by construeting two watches, endeavouring to make them keep 
time exactly together ; but all his efforts were unsuccessful, and 



at last he cxclaimed, 1 See — T cannot make tliese two watches 
agree, and yet (fool that I was) I hoped to be able to govern, like 
the works of a watch, so many nations, living under various skies, 
and speaking various languages.' 

To explain the poverty of national literature during the Lut he- 
ran period, it must also be noticed that the best minds in Germany 
were occupied in Latin writinga on theology ; while the few who 
avoided polemical excitements, and found solace in quiet studies, 
devoted their attention to classical philology, and especially 
cultivated the Latin language. 

The vernacular language was still regarded as suited only for 
vulgär purposes. In the few instances of German prose which we 
may select from the writings of this and the next period, we shall 
find proofs of the contempt with which the native language was 
treated by learned men. They even changed their own names 
into Latin and Greek : for instance, the German name of Melanc- 
thon the Reformer was Schwarzerde, which literally means (like 
the adopted Greek name) ' black earth.' Even as late as near 
the close of the seventeenth Century, the philosopher Leibnitz 
wrote an essay to show the importance of paying attention to the 
vernacular language. Though the numerous Lathi writers on 
theology and philology cannot be particularly described here, as 
their labours had no connection with national literature, some 
notice of their works may be given to explain the fact, that our 
scanty selections from a few writers can by no means represent 
the intellectual activity of this period. As instances of the indus- 
try and zeal which produced during this time an extensive library 
of folio volumes of Latin theology, we may quote such names as 
CEcolampadius (1482-1531); Johann Bulenhagen (1485-1558), 
who assisted Luther in the translation of the Scriptures ; Ulrich 
Zwingle, a Swiss. reformer, born in 1487, who feil in a battle ; 
David Paraeus (1548-1622), who wrote several commentaries on 
the Sacred Writings ; and Heinrich Alting (1 583-1 644) . Conrad 
Gessner (1516-1565) was styled the ' German Pliny,' on account 
of his learning and his studies in natural history. Heinrich Bul- 
linger (1504-1575) deserves to be remembered, as he was one of 
the most moderate among the agents of the Reformation, and at- 
tempted to reconcile the Lutherans and the Calvinists. His ' Ser- 
mons ' were ordered to be read by the clergy of the Church of 
England. Michael Servetüs, a learned physician, born in 1509, 
wrote in favour of the doctrines of Ai*ius. His miscellaneous 
works contain some intimations respecting the ' circulation of the 
blood,' which was discovered in a later period by the English 
Harvey. It is a fact which marks the intolerant character of the 
sixteenth Century, that Servetus, having refused to change Iiis 




creed, was, by the instigation of Calvin, seized and burned at 
Geneva in 1553. These few notices are sufficient to show that it 
would be impossible to describe with any interest the voluminous 
theological writings of this period, without introducing polemical 
discussions, which have no place in general literature. We there- 
fore turn to the easier task of describing the works in German 
prose and verse produced during these times. The title of 'poetry * 
can hardly be given to any of these writings, excepting the hymns 
which Luther and others wrote for the Services of the church. 
Otlicr writings in verse consist chiefly of lampoons and familiär, 
hmnorous stories. 


The old poetry of Germany was now in a great measure forgot- 
ten. Though the 'Heldenbuch,' or 'Collection of Heroic Legends,' 
was printed during the sixteenth Century, it was regarded only as 
a curious relic of barbarian life, and was despised by the learned 
critics who contrasted it with the epic poems of Homer and Vir- 
gil. Yet it is unfair to ascribe, as some writers have done, the 
neglect of ancient national literature to the events of the Lutheran 
period ; for we have seen that everything deserving the name of 
poetry was neglected during the fourteenth and fifteenth Centimes. 
Classical studies now engaged the attention of all who loved ele- 
gant literature ; and while Horace was admired, the title of ' a 
German poet 1 was generali) 7 applied as a badge of ridicule. We 
shall not wonder at this fact, when we consider the charm of 
novelty which in these times accompanied the reading of Greek 
and Latin authors. The printing press had revived and circulated 
widely the literature of Ancient Greece and Rome, and men of 
taste found a new intellectual world opened for their enjoyment. 
Consequently the vemacular language was condemned to be used 
only for vulgär purposes, and tliis sentence was, on the whole, 
strictly carried into execution. 

A propensity to satire of the most violent and personal descrip- 
tion seems to have been almost universal in these excited and 
polemical times. The first representative of the satirical writers 
was Thomas Murner (1475-1536), a wandering monk of an un- 
happy disposition. He was, in the beginning of bis career, num- 
bered among the friends of Reuchlin, the predecessor of Luther; 
but he became one of the most bitter opponents of the Reformers. 
At one time he translated some of Luther's writings, but after- 
wards he exhorted the people to burn them. He might have 
been styled a 'literary Ishmaelite,' for 'his hand (or pen) was 
against every man.' One of his satires was entitled ' Schelmen- 


zunft,' the 1 Rogues' Club,' and was written in a very low and 
coarse style ; but he pleaded that 1 the public taste would have it 
ho.' ' Sorae teil me,' he says, 1 to remember ray sacred profession, 
and to write seriously on religious topics. Now the fact is, that I 
have written some fii'ty of these serious books, but my booksellers 
■will not even look at them, as the people do not love such works ; 
so I have locked up all my divinity in a ehest. And as it is now 
counted as a degradation to write German rhymes, I must plead 
that I cannot help it ; for when I tiy to produce a piece of sober 
prose, I find my pen running into rhymes before I know what it 
is doing.' The coarse satires of this writer are not worthy of 
particular description, though they mark well the character of his 
epoch. He spared nobody, but wrote against bishops, reformers, 
noblemen, ladies, monks, nuns, and lawyers, indeed against every- 
body, always excepting Thomas Murner. Ulrich von Hutten was 
also a satirist, and agreed with Murner in many points ; but the 
moiik would not spare even Ulrich. The worlcl must have been 
very bad if Murners censures were just ; and his temper could 
hardly make it better. 

Ulrich von Hutten (1488-1523) was a remarkable man, in 
whom many of the characteristics of his times were united. 
Bescended frorn the nobility, he retained the spirit and the tra- 
ditions of chivahy, and was ready to maintain the new doctrines 
which he had embraced by the use of the sword as well as the 
pen. He shared in the general excitement of the age, took a part 
in the revival of classical literature, warmly defended the views 
of Luther, and wrote some of the ' Letters of Obscure Men ' which 
were celebrated in these times. The parents of Ulrich, after 
giving him a classical education, desired him to devote himself 
to a quiet and studious life remote from the conflict of the age ; 
but his temperament was too fiery to aeeept this prudent advice . 
He says in one of his German poems — ■ 

' The truth I never more will leave, 
However all my friends may grieve ; 
AI though my parents weep at home, 
While forth to fight for truth I roam ; 
(Heaven comfort them !) tili truth is free, 
No weapon raised shall silence me!' 

He wrote against the characters and manners of the nobility, and 
declared that his coimtry required a true aristoeraey, composed 
of men distinguished by virtue, genius, and benevolence. His 
activity was remarkable; for in the course of a short life he made 
a considerable progress in classical studies, revised and edited 
ancient authors, wrote some controversial works in Latin, and 



addressed many satirical pamphlets in verse and prosc to the 
German people. He complains in one of Iiis writings that he 
was compelled to flee from one city to another, Iiis life being 
ahvays in danger, on account of the numerous enemies excited 
by Iiis satires. He appeared never to have settled, in Iiis own 
mind, the question whether the work of social reformation should 
be advanced with the sword or the pen. 

Hans Sachs (1494-1576), a rhyming shoemaker, was the fa- 
vourite versifier among the people. Iiis harne has been covered 
with ridicule, on account of the homely style of his productions ; 
but if we fairly regard the thnes in which he lived, we may 
esteem him as a well-meaning and useful writer. Wlien Sir 
Walter Scott said that the greatest poetical writers had been the 
most prolific, he probably did not remember Hans Sachs, whose pro- 
ductiveness was surprising. He wrote in one thircl of a year some 
thirty-five works in rhyme, some of them of considerable length, 
and maintained Iiis industry to Iiis eighty-second year. His 
works were published in tive folio volumes. Though Iiis style 
was low, he had good honest feelings and purposes, and showed 
modesty and self-knowledge in not meddling with questions which 
he could not understand. While many were engaged in writing 
bitter satires and invectives, Hans was contented to leave polemi- 
cal topics untouched, and employed Iiis pen in writing innumerable 
tales and fables, containing common morality for common people. 
After reading some of Iiis versified stories, we laugh at the 
homely poetaster, while we respect the man. Even the learned 
Melancthon looked favourably on the verses of this shoemaker; 
for though Hans was a disciple of the Reformers, he did not 
write bitter satires. He must have been a diligent reader, as 
he borrowed materials for his tales and fables from Herodotus, 
Plutarch, Xenophon, Homer, Liyy, Virgil, and other classical 
authors. Hans was without doubt a man of shrewd Observation, 
genial humour, and graphic talent, and Iiis good influence on Iiis 
times Avas considerable. Yet we can hardly present any fair speci- 
men of his tales to modern readers, for he generally contrived to 
draw wholesome morals from incongruous narratives. For instance, 
in one of his fables, he represents the apostle St Peter as being 
greatly perplexed by the disorder and injustice prevailing in the 
world. Peter longs to have the reins of government in his own 
hand, and believes that he could soon reduce the world to order. 
While he is thinking thus, a peasant girl comes to him and com- 
plains that she has to do a day's work in the Held, and at the same 
time to keep within bounds a froliesome young goat. Peter kindly 
takes the goat into custody, but it escapes into a wood, and the 
apostle is so muck fatigued by his efforts to recover the animal, 



tliat he is led to tliis conclusion : — ' If I am not competent tcr 
keep even one young goat in my care, it cannot be my proper 
business to perplex myself about the manageinent of the whole 
world.' — 

' The young goat had a sportive mind, 
And never liked to be confined ; 
St Peter, at his quiekest pace, 
Must follow in a desperate chase ; 
O'er the hüls and through the briers, 
The goat runs on, and never tires ; 
While Peter on the grassy piain 
Pants and sighs, und runs in vain. 
All day, beneath the scorching sun 
The good apostle had to run, 
Till evening came : the goat was caught, 
And safely to the maiden brought. 
Then with a smile his Master said 
To Peter, "Friend, how have you sped ?" 
And Simon, with his toil distressed, 
His folly with a sigh confessed : — 
" No, Master, 'tis no easy play 
To keep one goat for one short day ; 
The task my powers has sorely tried — 
How could I keep the world so wide ? " 
His Master said, " Your words are true — 
Let each his proper duty do, 
And leave the world in the command 
Of one Supreme, Almighty hand." ' 

It is curious that this epoch of grave controversies was also re- 
markable for its comic propensities. The learned Erasmus, whose 
writings had served to introduce the Eeformation, wrote a humo- 
rous satire on 'The Praise of Folly;' and Luther, who knew the 
depths of serious thought, possessed a vein of comic humour which 
he cared not to suppress. He loved a droll satirical fable, and 
enjoyed a broad joke even in the midst of a serious controversy. 
His familiär letters often show this love of humour, as we find it 
in the following extract from a note addressed to his wife about 
three weeks before his death : — 

4 Deär Kate — We arrived here, at Halle, about eight o'clock ; but 
have not ventured to go on to Eisleben, for we have been stopped by 
a great anabaptist (I mean a flood), which has covered the roads 
here, and has threatened us with no mere " sprinkling," but with 
* immersion," against our will. For another reason we cannot turn 
back ; so here we have to lie at Halle between the waters. However, 
you may comfort yourself by being assured that we are not drinking 
water, but have plenty of good beer and Rhenish wine, with which 




we clicer oursei ves in spitc of the overfiowing rivcr. Even our driver 
was timid ; so we would not venture to try a passage over the flooded 
country, as we have a proper respect for the evil demon who dwells 
in the water floods, and we do not wish by our watery death to make 
a festival for the Pope and all his friends. I ncver supposed that 
the river here could be so insolent as to cover all the paths in this 
style. Well, no more now ; pray for us, and be pious. I believe if 
you had been with us, you would have advised us to do just as we 
are doing, and I am sure we should have taken your advice.' 
Halle, January 25, 1546. 

The humorous taste of Luther was shared by many of his con- 
temporaries, and next to earnest invectives and satires, comic 
stories and fables were the characteristic productions of these 
times. Burkard Waldis, Rollenhagen, and Erasmus Albe- 
rus, were noted among the writers of populär fables. 

The best lyrical poetry of this period was devoted to the Services 
of the Church. In the old times, the part which the people had 
taken in these Services had been confined to a few short responses 
to Latin hymns and litanies; but Luther, who loved music and 
psalmody, encouraged the people to take a more prominent part 
in public worship, and wrote for them several German hymns and 
psalms, which soon became exceedingly populär. The melodies 
and metres of many old songs were now revived, and devoted to 
religious Services. These hymns had a great influence in promot- 
ing Luther's doctrines. The Suggestion of the old friar Berthold, 
who wished to spread his doctrines by the aid of music, was amply 
fulfilled ; for Luther's hymns were soon simg in many parts of the 
country, and affected the minds of thousands who knew little of 
polemical doctrines. Luther (who has been confounded by some 
writeii with the despisers of all that is grand and beautiful in art, 
devoted to religion) said in the preface to a hynm book published 
m 1515, 1 1 by no means agree with the opinion of some fanatical 
persons, that Christianity must destroy all the fine arts; on the 
contrary, I wish to see all the arts, and especially music, devoted 
to the service of their Divine Author.' In accordance with tlus 
prmciple, he composed tunes adapted to the hymns he had written. 
Ringwald, Eber, Schalling, and many other writers of hymns, 
followed the style of Luther. Few of these sacred lyrics will bear 
translation, as their merit consists not so much in the thoughts 
which they expressed, as in their simple and energetic style of 
language. Such hynms were now the favourite literature of the 
people. Books of psalmody were published containing sacred 
lyrics to be sung ' by mechanics and maid-servants while engaged 
m their work : ' even children were lullecl to sleep by the music of 
hynms, instead of the old cradle songs : Luther's psalms were sung 



in the streets and market -places, instcad of ballads; and one 
writer published a copious collection of short and populär hymns 
and verses for moming and evening, to be used before and aftcr 
meals ; some to be used on a journey, and many others suited to 
various avocations of life. In conclusion, we may observe that 
many of the Lutheran hymns of this period are simple, and yet 
powerful in their expressions ; but the qualities which characterise 
them are such as make the attempt to translate them fairly 
hopeless. Their effect depends on their style, and even on the 
German rhymes employed in them, for which the English language 
can supply no equivalents. 


Dramatic writing, during this period, rose a little above the level 
of the preceding two centuries. Some learned men translated 
comedies from Plautus and Terence, which were performed by the 
students in schools and universities ; but the people still found 
amusement in religious ' Mysteries' and £ Shrove-Tuesday Spec- 
tacles,' and defended such entertainments by an appeal to the 
authority of ' Dr Luther,' who had allowed students to act Latin 
plays. Some parts of the old Mysteries were now altered or re- 
formed, to suit the new doctrines. The Performances of such 
plays were generally conducted in the open air, and the play-bills 
would somethnes announce that ' the spectacle will certainly take 
place on the appointed day if the weather prove favourable.' 
A wet Shrove-Tuesday must have been a melancholy day for 

In 1600, a troop of players, who were styled ' the English 
Comedians' (though we cannot find that they were natives of 
England, or had even been in England), travelled through Ger- 
many, and introduced many new secular pieces. After this Inno- 
vation, the German drama was no longer confinecl to Scriptural 
subjects. Stage machinery was improved, spectacles were adomcd 
with such varieties as ' royal processions, dances, and fireworks,' 
and the public were amused with many new inventions. For 
instance, one play of this period contains a direction that in a 
certain part the spectators must be astonished by 1 a storm of rain,' 
which ' may be performed by the use of plenty of water poured 
through many sieves which must be suspended among the branches 
of the trees.' Hans Sachs was very düigent in writing new plays 
for the people. These productions have, as may be presumed, no 
literary merits. Hans was so primitive in his notions of dramatic 
art, that he sometimes explained the whole plot of his piece in the 
prologue. One of his plays opens with the following laconic and 



straightforward passagc, which may serve as a specimen of his easy 
style of versification and Iiis dramatic taste : — 


The Herald speaks. 

Good-day to you, my masters all, 
Asseinbled in this royal hall ; 
Mind your behaviour, and be dumb : 
The King Concretus soon will come, 
And hold a privy-council here, 
Consulting for his daughter dear, 
How she shall live in proper statu ; 
For she has lately lost her mate, 
The Prince of Capua, who died 
Soon after she became his bride. 
Now masters all, your silence hold, 
And all the rest will soon be told. 

(Concretus enters, attended b]i ttco of his Privy-Councülors. Guiscardo also- 
enters tuith ttco servants. Concretus takes a seat, and speaks.) 

Gentlemen ! what must now be said? 
The Prince of Capua is dead. 
My daughter, lately, as you see, 
Has come from Capua to me ; 
For since her husband's death, her State 
Has been unsafe, without her mate ; 
And therefore we must counsel take, 
How happy we her life may makc. 

First Councillor. 
Most gracious king, I humbly say 
Your wisdom you will best display, 
To find for her, soon as you can, 
Another honourable man, 
That she may be again a wife, 
And not in sorrow waste her life.' 
* * * * 

Jacob Ayrer, a dramatic writer, who flourished rather later 
than Hans Sachs, displayed a coarse taste, and introduced the 
most revolting circumstances into Iiis pieces. The Duke Henry 
Julius of Brunswick wrote, between 1602-1610, several comic 
pieces for the German stage. 


The only great work in prose procluced in this period was the 
translation of the Bible by Martin Luther. In this Version Luther 
fused together the dialects of Northern and Southern Germany. 



Though modern scholarship has suggested many emendations, this 
work is still valuable, and will long remain as the basis of the 
Modern German. The other prose works of Luther consist chiefly 
of sermons, which fill twenty volumes ; besides some eight volumes 
containing ' Catechetical and Polemical Writings ' on the doctrines 
of the Reformation. The ' Letters of Luther, 1 collected and pub- 
lished by De Wette (1825-1828), and his ' Table-Talk,' which was 
published in a folio volume, give a very fair view of the singular 
mixture of qualities found in the character of the German reformer. 
As extracts from his polemical writings would be unsuitable in this- 
place, the following 1 Preface to Esop's Fables ' may be given. The 
work from which it is taken is entitled, ' A Series of Fables by 
Esop, translated into German by D. M. L., with a fine Preface, 
explaining the right use of the Book : an Amusing and Profitable 
"Work for every Man, whatever may be his Station. — Anno- 
Domini 1530.' 


* This book of fables has been esteemed as a famous production- 
even by the wisest men in the world, especially among the heathen. 
And with regard to maxims for our practical conduct, I will ven- 
ture to say that, always excepting the Sacred Writings, I know no 
book superior to Esop in wisdom and utility. For here we have,. 
in a dress of very piain words, and under the disguise of amusing 
fables, excellent warnings and doctrines on household management 
and other affairs of life, teaching a man how he must conduct him- 
self toward his superiors and his inferiors, so that he may live pru- 
dently and peaceably even among bad people in this present evil 
world. With regard to the supposed author, the dwarf and jester, 
I reject all that has been said and written about him as merely 
fabulous; for in all probability no such man as Esop ever lived. 
I believe that these fables were invented by several wise men who 
lived in various times, and that they gradually received many addi- 
tions, until some persons collected them in a volume. In the same 
way the tales and fables which have long been current among our 
German people might be now collected. I do not believe that all the 
wise men in the world at this time (not to speak of any Single man) 
could produce such a set of fables as we have here under the title of 
Esop. Among these, some are probably very old ; others are of a 
later date ; and perhaps a few were added when the book was com- 
piled. However, I daresay the authors of the old story about Esop 
had a good intention in their fiction, and wished to recommend the 
book to the notice of the common people by representing the author 
as a professed fool and jester. In the same way we find now that 
children and young people especially relish a joke or a droll story 
when recited by some actor in a comic dress and mask (such as are 
used in our Shrove-Tuesday spectacles), so as to excite laughter. 
And this trick of dressing up truth in a clowns motley might 



suit not only cliildrcn, but also upgrown people ; for many of tlicse 
will listen to good maxims dropped from tlie mouthof a jester, while 
they will turn away from tlie serious admonitions of a wise man. 
For nothiug is raorc unwelcouie to tlie world than truth, especially 
whcn it is practically applied. 

So we may imagiae that tlie wise men who wrote these fables said 
to thcmselves, " Well ! what must be done in this case — when the world 
will not listen to piain truth, and yet must not be left quite witbout 
truth ? We must gamish the truth with the semblance of a lie. We 
will put our doctrines into the mouths of animals ; for the people will 
listen to bears, wolves, and foxes, rather than to philosophers. Our 
four-footed wolves and foxes may give some homely advice to their 
two-footed friends. Though such men will not hear their vices re- 
proved by preachers, or friends, or foes, our fabulous fox may read 
such a lecture to the true fox in human shape as will make Ins 
cheeks brau, while he wishes that old Esop had been burned as a 
heretic." The fable -writers have said that Esop, after all the 
pains he had taken to disguise bis doctrine, was put to death at 
last for speaking the truth too plainly. This agrees with what I 
have said, and I repeat it — Truth is the most intolerable thing in 
the world. 

Therefore, as it must be presented in disguise, I have undertaken 
the revision of this book, and have dressed it in a better style than 
before. in doing this, I have especially cared for young people, 
that they may reeeive instruetion in a style suitable to their age, 
which is naturally fond of plays and all kinds of fictions ; and I 
have wished to gratify this natural taste without indulging anything 
that is bad. For we have seen what an objectionable book some 
writers have made, and sent into the world under the title of " The 
German Esop," in which the original fables are mixed with such 
scandalous tales, as call for punishment of their authors ; talcs 
written to please the lowest characters, and to be recited in dis- 
orderly alehouses and taverns. Esop endeavoured to introduce 
wisdom under an appearance of folly ; but these perverters of Esop 
would drown all wisdom in folly and coarse laughter. These fables 
were not written to serve the purposes of these debased characters. 
They are swine, and they will remain swine, so we must not cast 
our pearls before them. But we request all pious and well-meaning 
men to endeavour to abolish utterly that scandalous old " German 
Esop," and to Substitute in its place the book now presented to the 
public — a book which may be used safely and freely in every family 
— a book which a father may spread open upon a table in the midst 
of bis cliildren.' 

The earnest polemical writings of this period must be passed 
over briefly, as they belong rather to ecclesiastical and political 
than to literary history. Yet these are the most characteristic 
produetions of the times, and display the effects of controversy 
in a veiy nnfavourable light. The license, personality, and acri- 



mony, not to meution the coarseness, of the invectives published 
in the sixtccnth centuiy, can hardly be imagined by a modern 
reader who has not read the Originals ; for it is liappily impossible 
to find a writer who would undertake to give a close translation 
of such writings. The bad temper found in these lampoons 
cannot bc fairly attributed especially to any one sect or party. 
Rather, in accordance with a theory suggested by Bishop Butler, 
that nations, as well as individuals, may be subject to mental 
and inoral epidemics, we may regard the writings in question 
as Symptoms of a general malady. A few facts will sufnciently 
intimate the breadth or license of satire in this period. On one 
side, not only the character of Luther, but even that of his wife, 
was the object of bitter and scandalous reproaches. Ingenuity 
and malicc were combined in the production of many curious 
1 anagrams ' and ' acrostics,' which were generally written in 
Latin. In one of these, the initial letters of the lines, read per- 
pendicularly, compose the name Martin Luther (in its Latin form), 
while each line contams five words, all having the same initial, 
and the whole comprises a careful selection of the most abusive 
terms that could be culled from the Latin dictionary. This 
choice production of literary skill is facetiously entitled, 'An 
Euloghun on Martin Luther, made out of Iiis own Name,' and 
is a fair specialen of many similar ' anagrams ' contained in a 
little book styled 1 Epigrams on Heretics,' which was published 
in 1596. Well-known facts were seldom allowed to intercept 
the course of a malicious joke. Thus it was well known that 
the remains of Luther were interred in the vault of the royal 
chapel of Wittenberg Castle ; but this fact did not prevent the 
circulation of the stoiy that ' his body never received Christian 
burial, but was carried away by demons.' 

Tuming from these low pasquinades, not worthy to be styled 
satires, we find better specimens of the polemical writings of the 
age in the remains of Ulrich von Hutten (whose character has 
been described), Niclaus Manuel, and Ulrich Zwingle. As the 
name of Luther has been associated with that of Hutten, it is 
only fair to the character of the former to observe, that he 
eamestly endeavoured to correct the impatient military spirit 
which was manifested by Hutten and other German knights 
and noblemen, who did not understand the text, 'My kingdom 
is not of this world.' The bold and restless course of polcmic 
agitation in which Ulrich von Hutten engaged, involved him 
in continual strife and enmities. The following passage, selected 
from one of his writings, entitled a ' Complaint addressed to the 
German People,' gives a fair specimen of many similar instances 
of the excited temper of the times: — 




*I, Ulrich von Hutten, poet and orator, address this, my com- 
plaint, and present my humble respects to all classes of the German 
people, to men in every Station, to princes, noblemen, and Citizens, 
and to the whole body of the people. Kind masters and friends, 
you know that at various times, moved by a love of Christian truth, 
and earnest desires for the welfare of our nation, I have dritten 
and spoken things which have brought on me the enmity of all who 
are in alliance with Rome. ... I have been repeatedly warned 
that such measures are now taken against me that my life is no 
longer safe in my own country. When I came to Brabant, I waited 
there for some days at the court of our most gracious sovereign 
Charles ; but here I was told by good friends that if I would pre- 
serve my life, I must flee from this place without delay, as dangerous 
foes were watching my movements. At first, being conscious of 
innocence, I treated this warning lightly ; but afterwards, when 
all my friends conspired to move me, I followed their advice, and 
fled from the place with all possible speed. I cannot say who were 
my enemies there. ' When I asked my friends, they told me to be on 
my guard against all persons in the Service of Rome : and this warn- 
ing Avas soon confirmed ; for, as I journeyed up the Rhino, certain 
persons who had lately returned from Italy met me, and assured 
me that it was a common report in Rome that Leo was bitterly 
displeased with me, and had issued Orders that I should be punished 
with the utmost severity. Then I came to Mentz, and here my 
friends and patrons receivcd me with great joy and kindness, and 
expressed their wonder to see me again alive ; for they had heard 
that I had fallen into the hands of my enemies. When I arrived 
at Frankfort, I received letters and messages from friends, informing 
me that letters had been sent by the Pope to sevcral German princes, 
instructing them to send me as a prisoner to Rome, and threatening 
that, if they refused to obey this command, they would no longer be 
regarded as the friends of Leo. I had scarcely heard this news, 
when tidings came also from the Netherlands, telling me that there 
certain Roman emissaries were waiting for me, armed with füll 

authority to employ against me the secular power To 

these dangers I am exposed on account of my endeavours for the 
welfare of our Fatherland, and for true faith and religion ; endea- 
vours which all who love the truth must approve. And now I have 
to beg for my life, that I may live and continue the work in which 
I have been engaged ; I pray you all, my countrymen, to give me 
help, counsel, and defencc against my foes. To whom shall I flee 
if not to you ? Gracious masters and kind friends, fellow-Germans 
all ! I appeal to you. Will you allow one who has done good service 
to his country, to be driven out of it like a criminal? Will you 
stand by quietly, and see an innocent man punished ? That be far 
from you ! Never let it be said that the Germans, who have always 
been hospitable and kind to foreigners, were unmerciful to one of 



thcir own kindrcd ! Whcre is the honour, thc virtuo of our nation 
in these tiracs ? Where is the manliness for whioh they have becn 
celebrated ? Countrymen ! let all unite to protcct even one, if that 
onc bas donc good service for all. I might have enjoyed the favour 
of Rome at tbis time, if I bad not desired, above all otber things, tbc 
welfare of my country. For tbis I have laboured and suffered. For 
tbis I have endured so many misfortunes ; long journeys by day 
and night, so much want and care, and such shameful poverty ; 
and all this in the prime of my life — in the best, blooming years 
of youtb! Surely for all my good intentions I have some claim 

on your assistance If I cannot move you by my own case, 

be moved with pity for my friends and relatives. My poor and 
aged fathcr and mother, my younger brother, who is in grcat trouble 
about nie, all my relatives, and many who love and respect me, 
besides several learned men, and some noblemen ; all these join in 
my petition. If I have added something to the honour of our Father- 
land by my writings— if I have endeavoured to serve my country — 
help me now ! Must I be torn away from you my brethren ; from 
this earth, wbich has supported me from infancy ; from my native 
air ; from all the friendly and familiär faces of the people ; from 
my parental dwelling ; from my German home and altar ; and must 
I be hurried away, not to spend my life, however miserable, abroad, 
but to cruel tortures and a shameful death? Germans all! my 
brethren ! help me now ! Stand by the persecuted man, and do 
not sufFer me to be torn away from you.' 

NlCLATJS Manuel (1484-1530) may be noticed as an instance of 
that versatility of talents wbich. was not uncommon in this period. 
Manuel was a statesman engaged in political affans at Berne in 
Switzerland; but was also well known as a solclier, a poet, a painter, 
a sculptor, and a wood-engraver. Shnilar examples of versatility 
may be found in some of the great Italian artists : Michael Angelo 
wrote poems; Leonardo da Vinci was a scientific Student; and 
Manuel resembled Hutten in bis polemical character, and wrote 
several satkes and Shrove-Tuesday plays, to expose the Romish 
clergy in Switzerland to ridicule. The boldness and license of these 
productions are far beyond the bounds of modern toleration. 

Ulrich Zwixgle, the leading reformer in Switzerland, born in 
1487, resembled Manuel in the various engagements of Iiis life; 
for he was not only a statesman and a theologian, but also studied 
music, and, as a soldier, feil in battle. His writings are chiefly 
tbeological and polemical, and sbow the earnestness of bis cha- 

Another polemic writer, known by bis Latinised name, Wolf- 
gang Fabriciüs Capito, wrote in the German language a severe 
but just remonstrance against the sebfisb plunder of ecclesiastical 
property, of which many were guilty, who, favoured by the ex- 



citement attcnding the Reformation in several places, committed 
robbcrics on a large scale. The remonstrance of Fabricius is 
well worthy of notice, as he employs argument instead of the 
invectives so prevalent in his time. He entircly demolishes the 
pretence of religious motives for the plimder of churches and 
other public institutions, as he argues that, however these insti- 
tutions may have been abused, it is clear that their founders 
endowed them for public use and benefit, and not for the 
aggrandisement of individuals. There was a time when such an 
argument was urgently required in England. 

It is some relief to turn from the controversial writings of this 
Century to lighter productions; but in these we still find satire. 
The most celebrated writer of prose satires was Johann Fischart, 
born at Mayence, who wi'Ote industriously during the latter half of 
the period. His works are füll of extravagant combinations of 
words, something like the verbal exploits of Aristophanes ; but 
they seldom carry any meaning which might not have been ex- 
pressed in a few simple terms. Thus, in one of his satires he de- 
scribes, with condemnation, 'the innumerable-as-stars-in-the-hea- 
vens-or-as-sands-on-the-sea-shore impositions of the astrologers and 
prognosticators.' In this instance Iiis satire was certainly well- 
directed; for the impostors, who called themselves 1 astrologers,* 
were some of the most prosperous literary men of these times, as 
they established a flourishing trade, requiring scarcely any capital 
beyond the dense ignorance of the people. The 'Prophetic 
Almanac ' was the selling-book at all fairs and markets, and was 
read with an excitement far exceeding that produced by all the 
modern 1 novels of the season.' The poorest farmer gladly laid 
down his groat to carry home the wonderful book which marked 
all the ' lucky days ' for sowing wheat, making bargains, 1 hair- 
cutting ' and ' blood-letting.' The events of the times, as well as 
the ignorance of the people, were favourable to this trade in im- 
position; for during the Thirty Years' War, the almanac-makers 
might safely use ' commotions in Germany ' as a stereotyped pro- 
phecy. But even a thousand failures did not hurt the success of 
these tradesmen: preachers and divines, from the time of Luther 
to the eighteenth Century, preached and wrote against ' the magi- 
cians ' in vain. One of these absurd old almanacs ascribes all the 
events of the Reformation to the fact, that ' Luther was born 
under the planet Jupiter in Capricorn.' Fischart justly says, ' It 
is too profane and presumptuous to involve Heaven itself in our 
earthly disputes.' We cannot literally translate the stränge title 
of the book in which he caricatures the productions of ' the impos- 
tors ;' but it is something like the following : — 'The Grandm other 
of all Almanacs, or the Pantagruelistic, thick-with-impositions, 



Phlebotomist's Adviser, Farmer's Code of Rules and Weathcr- 
Book, suited for all times and every country; by the accomplishcd 
rat-catcher, Winhold, Alcofribas Wüstblutus.' In this caricature 
lie endeavoured to recommend a safe style of prophesying, of which 
the following passage is a specimen : — 


f In this year we may expect tlie planets to be moveable ; but they 
will move only in the courses appointed by their Creator. From 
certain aspects, we may concludc that the colic and other signs of a 
disordered stomach will be prevalent in the snmmer among people 
who eat large quantities of unripc fruit, especially plums, and drink 
plenty of sour hutter-milk. Corn will be too dear for poor men, and 
too cheap for great landowners. Vines will not flourish in the Black 
Forest, nor in the Boheraian Forest ; but the best vineyards on the 
Pihine will produce wine strong enough to throw many people down 
from chairs and stools. Beer also will be good this year, if the 
brewers will not use too much water. In short, we may expect an 
abimdant supply of wine and corn, if the wishes of poor people are 
fulfilled. Dairymen may take notice that black cows will give white 
milk. With regard to the affairs of various nations, we may venture 
to say that the Bavarians and the Swabians will prosper, if nothing 
occur to prevent it. We have to notice dark a aspects " for the people 
of Morocco and other hot countries ; but the people of Sweden will 
be tolerably fair. Also we may promise that there will be corn in 
Poland, many cows in Switzerland, fine oxen in Hungary, good 
butter and cheese in Holland and Flanders, salt fish in Norway, 
fresh salmon in Scotland, and a plentiful supply of ignorance and 
folly in all countries.' 

Fischart wrote an extravagant satirical and humorous book 
entitled 'Garagantua' (1575), in which he borrowed some of bis 
descriptions from Eabelais. It is Ml of the uncouth and far- 
fetched combinations of words found in his other writings, but 
contains many ludicrous caricatures of the follies of society in 
the sixteenth Century. 

G-eorge "Wickram was a writer, or rather a collector, of populär 
stories and anecdotes, and would hardly be worthy of notice in a 
history of literature if his works, low as their style may be, did not 
fairly represent the populär taste of his times. One of bis books 
bears in its title something like an anticipation of that class of 
very light literature which is now provided for the amusement of 
railway travellers. It is described by the author in the following 
terms: — 'The Travellers Little Book (or aBook for the Carriage), 
containing many Pleasant Jokes and Stories for the Amusement 
of Voyagers and Travellers, and to drive away Melancholy from 
Leisure Hours ' (1555). This writer gives us a proof of the rüde 



taste of Iiis times, as he assures us that he has carefully revised Iiis 
book, that it may contain nothing to oßend either young or old 
readers, though many of its jokes would be very objectionable to 
a modern taste. The following jocose anecdote is a fair specimen 
not only of Wickrara's coarse little book, but of many other 
similar collections, such as the ' Parson of Kalenberg, 1 ' Peter 
Leu,' the ' Laienbuch,' and especially ' Eulenspiegel,' which can- 
not be particularly described here, though they formed a promi- 
nent part in the populär literature of this period : — 


f A monk who had the eure of souls in the parish of Poppenried 
was renowned for his wonderful powers of voeiferation ; for in the 
pulpit he would exert his voice in such an extravagant style, that a 
stranger might have thought that the preacher had lost his senses. 
One Sunday afternoon, while the monk was shouting at the top of 
his voice, a poor widow amid the congregation began to wring her 
hands and cry bitterly. The monk noticed this effect with pleasure, 
and after the Service he went to the poor woman and asked " what 
part of the sermon had affected her mind so deeply, as he wished to 
offer some consolation." " Alas, good father !" said the widow, "mine 
is a heavy affliction. When ray poor husband died, he knew that a 
great part of his property must go to his relatives ; so he be- 
queathed tome, to help ine to find a livelihood, a fine young donkey ; 
but not long after my husband's death the ass also died. I have 
endeavoured to overcome my sorrow ; but oh, sir ! when I heard 
your voice this afternoon, it reminded mc so — it was just the voice of 
the poor ass." The monk, who had expected at least a compliment, 
and perhaps something more substantial, was obliged to rclish the 
comparison as well as he could.' 

The legend of ' Dr Faustus ' was produced during this time, and 
soon became one of the most populär books in Germany. The 
Greek story of the Trojan war was hardly more fruitful in the 
literature devoted to it than this legend of magic and demonology. 
There are good reasons for believing that Faust, the hero of this 
tale, was a real character, who lived in Swabia, or some part of 
Southern Germany, in the former part of the sixteenth Century. 
Manlius, Gessner, Camerarius, and the reformer Bullinger, mention 
Faust as a well-known character, who had gained his celebrity by 
the profession of magic. The reality of such a profession was 
admitted not only by the populace, but by many learned writers of 
this period. When Luther, in the note which has been quoted, 
alludes to 1 the demon who dwells in the water floods,' such ex- 
pressions are by no means to be understood as merely playful and 
imaginative ; but indicate the general belief in demonology which 
was distinctly expressed in the story of Faust. ' The History of 



Dr Faustus,' in prose, was first publislied in 1587 by Johann Spies, a 
printer, at Frankfort. In this book the story of the magician, who 
gained by unlawful arts a mastery of nature, is told with evident 
faith, and in a very serious style, as a warning to all ambitious 
minds. The writer teils ns that he has omitted all the forms of 
conjuration used by Faust, because he feared that some imprudent 
readers might be tempted to employ them. Such forms, however, 
may be found in other books, such as the ' Keys of Solomon,' ' Ar- 
batel on the Magic of the Ancients,' and some treatises on ' Black 
and White Magic.' The legend of Faust was rapidly spread, and 
was versified by the English dramatist, Christopher Marlowe, in 
1588, or soon afterwards. Since then, it has been the foundation 
of tales, dramas, and puppet-show Performances too numerous to be 
described, and, in the shape of Goethe's version, has acquired a 
permanent place in German literature. With all its absurdity, it 
appears to be one of the few books which, like ' Don Quixote,' 
4 llobinson Crusoe,' and the ' Pilgrim's Progress,' accord so well 
with certain tendencies of human nature, as to maintain a lasting 
popularity. It may be noticed here that the modern versions of 
the legend, such as we find hi the opera of 1 Don Juan,' debase the 
character of the original by representing as the sole object of 
Faust's researches mere sensuous enjoyment. The old story hacl 
a higher meaning, as it expressed a longing for intellectual perfec- 
tion. Goethe has preserved this characteristic in his version, 
especially in the passage where Faust walks out into the country 
and receives the thanks of the poor people for his Services as a 
medical man. ' Ah,' he exclaims, 1 we deal with diseases and me- 
dianes of whicli we know nothing, and kill as many as we eure. 
How shall we gain an insight into the mysteries of nature ? ' This 
notice of Faust may suffice to indicate the character of that litera- 
ture of demonology for which Germany was once celebrated. 

This period produced several historical writers who employed 
their vernacular language. Johann Turmayr (1477-1554) wrote 
a ' History of Bavaria ' at first in Latin, but afterwards trans- 
lated it into German (1533). In the latter form it was printed 
in 1566. It bears marks of a patriotic spirit and a credulous 

Sebastian Franck was one of the best writers of German prose 
on history and theology during this period. In the latter depart- 
ment he stood alone as a representative of the Mystic School dur- 
ing the Lutheran era; and opposed Luther, whom he called 'the 
new Pope.' It is remarkable that the extreme religious views of 
Franck accord in many respects with the principles of the Society 
of Friends in England, as we find them stated in the ' Apology ' 
by Robert Barclay, which was published in 1676. Franck rejected 




all ecclesiastical authority, and maintained that { there is an inter- 
nal light in man, which is better fitted than even the Scriptures 
to guide him aright in religious matters. ' * He wrote a series 
of ' Paradoxes' (1533), which contain some extreme opinions on 
theology ; and a collection of 1 Proverbs,' with comments upon them 
(1541). His historical writings were generali y read during the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, especially his ' Chronicle of 
the German Nation,' and his 1 World-Book,' or ' Manual of Uni- 
versal History.' In these works he took care to convey his moral 
and religious doctrines, and often wrote with bittemess and 
severity, though he seldom used the coarse style of invective 
which was common in his times. The long title of his 1 World- 
Book' may be given as an example of the crowded title-pages of 
many books published during this period: — ' The World-Book; 
a Mirror and Image of the whole Earth, by Sebastian Franck; 
in Four Books on Asia, Africa, Europe, and America; contain- 
ing Accounts of all Countries, Nations, Provinces, and Islands, 
with Descriptions of their Position, Length, Width, Produce, Popu- 
lation, Names, Figures, Modes of Life, Characteristics, Reli- 
gion, Faith, Ceremonies, Laws, Government, Policy, Morals, 
Customs, Wars, Commerce, Fruits, Animals, Clothing, &c. all 
placed plainly before the eyes of the reader: also some De- 
scription of the Newly-discovered Islands, not copied from Berosus, 
Joanne de Monte Villa, and such fabulous writers, but gathered 
out of the well-accepted and confirmed works of experienced 
world - describers : the whole having been collected with great 
pains from many diffuse works, and Condensed in one compact 
and portable volume, forming such a work as has never before 
appeared in German. — " Come, behold the works of the Lord." 
— Psalm, 46, 8. Printed at Tubingen by Ulrich Morhart in 
1534.' The following passages give some indications of the 
manners of the German people in old times : — 


4 The people of Germany are divided into four classes, of which 
the first contains all the monks and other spiritual raen. . . . The 
second class includes all the nobility, who, in God's good order, 
ought to be the fathers of the people, terrors to evil-doers, the Sup- 
port and refuge of the good, and the defence of widows and orphans 
(whom they now oppress and persecute). Our noblemen ought to 
be the dogs to guard the flock ; but they are wolves, and tear the 
sheep. They have lost their ancient honour (for their ancestors pos- 
sessed some virtues), and are known only by their pride, their riches, 
their boast of ancestry, and their tyranny. . . The recent insurrec- 

* See 1 History of English Literature* (in Chambers's Educatxonal Course)^ 
page 97. 



tion of tlic peasants has shown how entirely all good feelings be- 
twcen the nobility and their dependents have been destroyed. Noble- 
men in old timcs kept their vassals faithful to them by niany acts of 
Irindness, which formed a wall around all their property. They con- 
sidercd themselves rieh when their dependents were in good cir- 
cumstances ; but now the whole business of the aristoeraey is rob- 
bery and extortion : they have no professions but hunting, drinking, 
and gambling ; and live on their rents in superfluity of wealth. This 
aristoeraey is powerful not only in Germany, but also in all nations, 
being distinguished everywhere by splendid array, arrogance, con- 
ceit, and insufferable oppression. Yct these noblemen, who rule by 
violence, like to be called " our Gracious Masters." . . . Many of 
them follow their dukes and princes to warfare, that they may return 
with rieh booty ; for wealth elevates them above the common nobi- 
lity : indeed some farmers and tradesmen have risen into the ranks 
of the nobility by money ; for pecuniae obediunt omnia — (" all things 
are subservient to gold.") .... Our noblemen are in all things dis- 
tinguished from the other classes of society : in clothing, houses, 
gesture, and carriage, style of talk, and even in their seats in churches 
and their funerals. Their carriage is lofty, their talk is bold and 
threatening, their dress is fantastic and worldly, their faces are füll 
of assurance, and their minds (with few exceptions) are intolerably 

warlike and revengeful The third class of society includes 

our Citizens and tradesmen ; but these are subdivicied into two 
classes. Of these the former comprehends all our common Citi- 
zens who are engaged in trade; while the latter contains all the 
rieh men who have acquired a sort of nobility by money. These 
latter gentlemen form an exclusive class, for they live on their 
rents or interest of property, and will neither associate nor intermarry 
with the families of common Citizens who are engaged in trade, how- 
ever rieh these may be. However, in law both these classes are equal, 
and enjoy the same measure of freedom. . . . The costume of our rieh 
Citizens is always new and fashionable, as it often changes its mode. 
Some old men still Irving can remember the days when the Citizens 
wore pointed shoes with long and tapering beaks, short and tight 
garments,and tasseled caps; but all these fashionshave passed away, 
and now their clothes are wide and roomy, and their shoes are broad 
and short. The dress of the ladies is now costly enough, but neatly 
arranged ; and with the exception of a few supernuities, we do not find 
much to blame in it. These rieh Citizens are very religious in their 
way. They attend the Services of the Eomish Chureh with great 
punctuality, and call up their men-servants and maid-servants early 
in the morning to attend matins. They are also very charitable, 
especially toward the monks and others of the clergy, of which we 
lind sufficient proofs in the number of churches which have been 
founded, and all the choristers, canons, bishops, prelates, abbots, 
provosts, and deans, who are supported by the Citizens. They also 
support hospitals, and train poor scholars for the priesthood. . . . The 
fourth class includes all the peasants, miners, shepherds, and other 



labourcrs whose dress, dwellings, raode of life, and customs, are well 
known to all my readers.' 


* Franconia is bounded on tlie south by Bavaria, on the west by 
tlie Rinne, on the east by Boliemia, and by Hesse and Thuringia to- 
ward the north. It is aland well enclosed and defended by hüls, but 

is level in the interior The Franks have many singnlar customs, 

which I will describe herc, in order that the facts I have related 
concerning the stränge customs of Jews, Türks, and Pagans, may 
appear more credible to my readers. Why should we regard these 
foreigners as fools onaccount of thcir manners and ceremonies, wben 
we find things equally stränge and ridiculous at home, and among 
people who call themselves Christians ? On the three Thursdays be- 
fore Christmas-day, the boys and girls go about from house to house 
in the towns and villages, annoimcing that the birth of the Lord is 
near at band, and wishing for all the people ahappy New- Year. For 
this service they receive presents of apples, pears, nuts, and small 
coins. Then, when Christmas comes, they celebrate the birth of 
Christ in this fashion : — They place lipon the altar in the church a 
cradle containing a wooden doli dressed like an infant, and before 
this cradle the young people dance and sing, while the old people 
gaze, and join in singing such stränge songs, that the scene may re- 
mind one of the Corybantes celebrating the birth of Jove in Mount 
Ida. In the same festive season the men-servants and other young 
fellows go through the towns and villages in the night-time singing 
songs to the people, with the greatest hypocrisy, and covering every 
householder (who can afFord to give anything) with praises from the 
sole of bis foot to the crown of his head ; and thus these serenaders 
collect a good sum of money. Other companies of singers travel 
through the country, announcing their arrival in every town by ring- 
ing a bell; then they go into the church, and there sing for the 
amusement of the people : afcer this they of course make.a collection, 
and often return home with a considerable booty. On the festival 
of the " Three Kings," every householder makes cakes and sweet- 
meats ; a penny is kneaded in with the dough, which is divided into 
cakes according to the number of the family. One cake is presented 
to the Virgin Mary, and each of the Three Kings has his cake ; but 
the child who receives the cake containing the penny is styled the 
" King," and is then lifted up on the Shoulders of the family. When 
he is lifted, he takes a piece of chalk and makes a cross on the ceiling, 
or on one of the beams, and this cross is regarded as a grand pre- 
servative against ghosts and misfortunes for the following year. 
Düring the twelve days between Christmas and the Festival of the 
Three Kings, the people burn incense in their houses as a charm to 
drive away all evil spirits and witchcraft. They also attend to the 
State of the weather during these twelve days, as they believe that 
the twelve months of the new year will correspond with them. Thus, 
if it rains on the second day, they expect a rainy February; and so on. 



The manncr in which they spend the three days before Lent shows 
the character of their religion. They act as if they all thought, " Let 
us eat and drink, for to-morrow \ve die;" or as if they expected 
never to have another opportunity of merriment. Some of the 
young people dress themselves in masks and stränge disguises, to re- 
present deinons ; and raany of their wild tricks remind us of the 
andient Romans in their " Lupercalia." At this time, in Franconia, 
and in many places on the Rhine, the young men yoke a number of 
young maidens to a plough, on which a fiddler or piper is seated, who 
plays a merry tune while the girls draw him into the water. In othcr 
places they draw about a plough with a boivfire upon it, until it is 
burnt to pieces. Another of their games is this : four young fellows 
take hold of a sheet by its corners, in which they toss a wooden effigy 
made and dressed to resemble a dead man. This game they exhibit 
in many towns ; and I might describe many other tricks and diver- 
sions of these Romish-heathen Christians. In some places, about 
the middle of Lent, they make a man of straw, and lay him out like 
a corpse, and the young people carry this figure through the neigh- 
bouring villages. Some people take the joke well, and treat the 
bearers with dried fruits, milk, and peas ; but others regard the 
ceremony as a bad omen of death or some other calamity, and drive 
away the procession with hard words. and sometimes blows.' 

JEiGid Tschudi (1505-1572) w^rote a 'History of Switzerland,' 
Iiis native country, which w r as published in 1538. Tschudi was 
noted as a statesman and a man of a mild disposition, who em- 
ployed conciliatory measures in the contests of the Protestant 
with the Catholic cantons of Iiis country. He also advocated the 
cultivation of the vernacular language, and complained that in 
bis times ' preachers and theologians would not write a line with- 
out using some Latin words.' His historical work is WTitten in 
a very piain and unpretending style, and in modern times has been 
commended by the celebrated historian Johamies von Müller. 

Sebastian Munster was the author of a ' Cosmography,' or 
1 Description of all Countries,' which was published in 1543, and 
was extensively read. Johann Stumpff wrote in German a his- 
tory of Henry IV., which was published in 1556. The materials 
of this work were collected from various Lathi w^riters. Chris- 
toph Lehman, a man of some learning and ability, wTote a 
1 Chronicle of the Free City of Spires 1 (published in 1612), which 
contains some disquisitions on the relative merits of monarchy, 
aristoeraey, and demoeraey. Lehman argued that demoeraey 
was opposed to reason and the order of nature, and that it could 
not be successfully realised even in one family, much less in a 
nation. Tie wrote in favour of aristoeraey, but understood the 
word in a strict etymological sense, as denoting a government 
in the hands of the best men. Few readers will dissent from the 



conclusion of Iiis argument, where he says — 'That is the best 
government where the best men in the nation have authority, 
and there we may live most happily.' Lehman's work contains 
several humorous aneedotes of the honest and economical German 
emperor, lludolph I., who condescended to mend Iiis own doublet. 

Two or three of the theological writers who employed their 
motlier tongue deserve notice here, as they contributed to the 
cultivation of the German language. Berthold, a bishop of the 
Romish Church, wrote in a piain and good style a work entitled 
1 German Theology,' which was printed in 1527. One of the 
objects of this book was to call back Wanderers from the ancient 
church, and to counteract the populär literature of the Protestants. 
Berthold says — ' These times have made manifest that secret 
hatred of the Catholic Church and its clergy which has long 
remained hidden in the hearts of imrighteous men. 1 He argues 
in the usual style against all innovations of doctrine, by pointing 
to the variety of opinions found in such reformers as Luther, 
Carolstadt, Zwhigle, and (Ecolampadius. The practical and un- 
controversial parts of the book are written in an earnest and 
populär style. 

Johann Mathesius was a populär preacher and writer, who 
in some respects hnitated the style of Luther. There were some 
pleasing features in Iiis character. As he lived in the midst of 
a mining district, he adapted his ministry to the wants and the 
characters of the people. He wrote hymns and songs, which the 
miners sung while engaged in their subterraneous toil; and his 
sermons, which were füll of populär aneedotes and preverbs, were 
well adapted to the practical interests and pursuits of his con- 
gregation. In one of his discourses, entitled a ' Sermon to Miners ' 
(published hi 1597), he collects all the passages in the Bible which 
have any real or supposed reference to mines and metals, and 
employs considerable learning and higenuity to prove that miners 
were recognised in the Bible as an honourable class of men. 

The writings of Johann Arndt may be classed with the best 
theological produetions of this period. His treatise entitled 1 Four 
Books on True Christianity,' which was published in 1629, passed 
through uncounted editions in Germany, and was translated into 
English. It is read and esteemed in the present day. Arndt 
wrote on mystic or theosophic principles, in some respects similar 
to the views of Tauler, Franck, and other Mystics ; but he stated 
his sentiments with clearness and moderation ; and the pious and 
practical character of his book made it a favourite among religious 
men of various sects. 

We find a curious instance of the mystical genius of Germany 
in Jacob Böhme, who was born in Silesia in 1575. Though he 



was a poor slioemaker, and had no advantages of education, he 
devoted his mind to the most abstruse studies. He professed 
that bis doctrines were derived not from any process of reasoning, 
but from immediate revelation. For a tirae be was silenced by 
ecclesiastical autbority; but again be resumed authorsbip, and 
produced a series of mystical works on tbeology and pbysical 
science, in a style of wbich we can give no adequate description. 
One of Iiis cbief works, written in 1612, was entitled ' Aurora ; 
the Morning-Redness in the East, or the Boot and Mother of 
Philosophy, Astrology, and Theology.' ' In the beginning of this 
stränge book he says — 'Kind reader, I admonish you that you 
may put away all self-conceit, and all love of heathenish wisdom, 
and that you may not be offended by the simplicity of the author 
of this book; for I assure you that it is not the production of 
Iiis reason, but the work of immediate inspiration.' Another of 
Böhme's works was the ' Mysterium Magnmn,' or an ' Exposition of 
the First Book of Moses, 1 which he wrote in 1622. This work 
professes to give an explanation of the whole pbysical and spiritual 
universe. The writer teils us that in his intellectual vision he saw 
how plants, trees, stones, metals, and other creatures were origi- 
nally produced. Böhme's writings were collected and published in 
twenty-one octavo volumes in 1730. Several of them were trans- 
lated into English by William Law, a clergyman of the Church 
of England. Though the assertion may appear improbable, we 
have clear evidence that the celebrated modern philosophers of 
Germany, SchelUng and Hegel, have borrowed some of their 
ideas from Jacob Böhme. His writings contain, amid many 
curious theories, some remarkable assertions. For instance, he 
says, 1 There is nothing in the universe purely evil, but every- 
thing contains some goodness ; ' which coincides with Shakspeare's 
line : — 

' There is a soul of goodness in things evil.' 

In a confused style, Jacob Böhme predicted some of the ten- 
dencies of recent German speculations. Dr Johnson gave a 
criticism on the ' revelations ' of this theosopher, which some 
readers may remember. ' If Jacob,' said the doctor, ' saw in his 
vision, like St Paul, unutterable things, he had not the good sense 
of the apostle, or he would not have attempted to utter them.' 

In concluding our scanty notices of theological writers, it is 
proper to observe that we have passed over works of religious 
importance in this department, without selecting any extracts ; 
because their topics would not harmonise with other productions 
which must be noticed in a treatise on general literature. 

For the history of this period we depend chiefly on the works 



of Latin writers. The miscellaneous writings of Luther, Melane- 
thon, aud Zwingle, contain many notices of public events. George 
Spalatin (1482-1545) wrote in Latin ' Annais of the Reformation.' 
Johannes Sleidanus (1506-1556) wrote in thesame language'A 
Commentary on the State of Religion and Government in the 
Reign of Charles W Joachim Camerarius (1500-1547) wrote the 
memoirs of Iiis friend Melancthon, and a ' Life of the Elector 
Maurice of Saxony.' 1 A History of the Confession of Augsburg ' 
was written by David Chitraeus (1530-1600). 

The preceding notices and extracts have shown that few pro- 
duetions of this period deserve a place in general or elegant 
literature. Yet there were signs of progress even amid all the 
imfavourable circumstances of the Lutheran era. The hymns 
for populär use written by Luther and his friends were welcome 
Substitutes for the low satirical pieces of the fifteenth Century ; 
and the prose style of Luther's version of the Bible supplied a 
model to which writers may even now refer with profit. 


This period will probably disappoint the expectation of the 
reader. The Lutheran era, with all its rudeness and acrimony, 
was a time of intellectual excitement, which extended over a great 
part of the continent, and in England was soon followed by the 
noble literature of the Elizabethan era. But in Germany this 
excitement found expression chiefly in civil and ecclesiastical 
strife, and left few good impressions on national literature. The 
poetry of the seventeenth Century was tarne and imitative, while 
its prose writings displayed little of the vigour and originality 
of Luther's style. This declension may be partly explained by 
reference to two causes. In the first place, after the populär 
excitement attending the Reformation had subsided, the clergy 
continued their controversies in numerous Latin works, and paid 
no attention to the cultivation of national literature. Other edu- 
cated men, who had some acquaintance with classic literature, 
wished to cultivate their native language. For this purpose they 
formed 1 literary associations,' and in these societies many poetical 
works were produced. But as style was the chief object regarded 
by the writers of this period, their produetions in verse are gene- 



rally marked by conventional taste and cold correctness, and 
show no original genins. Imitation, however servile, was re- 
garded as a virtne. Every poem must be fashioned after a certain 
model, whieh was generally borrowed from some French or Latin 

Again we may refer to the fact, tliat the social and political 
condition of the coimtiy dnring, and for some time after, the 
Thirty Years' War, was very low. The mde satirical novels, and 
the tragedies of Lohenstein, which were received with applause 
during this period, contain strong proofs of the debased State of 
public taste. 


This was the golden age of poetasters. Xumerous versifiers 
of this period wrote in a pedantic and imitative style, but dis- 
played no poetical genius. Their productions have no true 
interest, but may be briefly noticed as ' cnriosities of literature ' 
which once enjoyed celebrity. They may also serve to indicate 
the nature of that exaggerated admiration which attended the 
revival of poetry in the eighteenth Century. After the dulness 
of Opitz and Iiis followers, the poems of Klopstock appeared as 
productions of the highest genius. 

It would be difficult to explain the low position of German 
literature during this period, if we did not bear in mind the fact, 
that the best and most leamed authors were generally employed 
in writing Latin works on theology and philology. German 
versification was now regarded as a mere amusement, and its 
highest purpose was limited to the imitation of the Latin classics. 
Consequently Greek and Roman mythology were plundered to 
Ornament German poetry. ' Jupiter,' ' Juno,' ' Mars,' and ' Venus,' 
reappeared as leadmg characters, and plagiarism from Horace 
was counted as a virtue. Coteries were founded for the study 
of prosody, and the invention of such epithets as ' brown evening,' 
'cold stars,' 'glassy waters,' and 'pale sorrows.' The members 
of these societies complimented each other profusely with such 
titles as the ' German Virgil,' ' the Horace of the seventeenth 
Century,' and did not despair of producing, by due attention to 
certain mechanical rules, a ' German Homer.' They gravely be- 
lieved what a contemporary said of them satirically — ' If a man 
who has ordinary cleverness and plenty of words cannot make 
hhnself a tolerable German poet in a fortnight, he does not de- 
serve another dinner.' Literary clubs on an extensive scale were 
peculiar features of this period. One of them was styled the 
' Palm Order,' while another was called the ' Fruitful Association,' 



though it was remarkably unproductive. One literary association 
had 806 members ; and among these were one king, three prince- 
electors, forty-nine dukes, four margraves, ten landgraves, eight 
counts palatine, nineteen princes, sixty earls, and thirty-five barons, 
besides 600 inferior nobility and literati; yet the sole result of 
all this formidable array was mediocrity! Many ladies were 
members of literary unions, and although Germany has never 
been very favourable to the development of feminine genius, 
several poetesses obtained with ease a respectable share of con- 
ventional approbation. There were some advantages in these 
societies; for as the people would not read poetry of the new 
style, poetasters kindly agreed to read for one another. Thus, if 
Martin Opitz submitted to read patiently the ' odes ' of one of 
Iiis admirers, it was reasonably expected that the latter would not 
refuse to read throngh ' Daphne ; an Arcadian, Pastoral, Lyrical 
Drama, by Martin Opitz.' The name of this writer will serve 
to mark the character of his epoch. Martin Opitz (1597-1639) 
was perhaps the only man who ever gained a lasting name by 
mediocrity. His name will not be entirely forgotten, for it serves 
a, necessary purpose. The literary historian must give some 
account of the poetry of the seventeenth Century, and he cannot 
do this more concisely than by saying, ' This was the time when 
Opitz was esteemed as " the Virgil of Germany." ' The mediocrity 
of this cold versifier was perfect in its kind. A Dutch landscape, 
the neighbourhood of Berlin, or the road from Berlin to Hamburg, 
will hardly supply an adequate symbol of the flatness of Opitz. 
His verses are seldom bad enough to raise a laugh, and never 
good enough to excite admiration. An unfortunate man, con- 
demned to read through the works of Hans Sachs, might have 
some moments of amusement ; but to read through one volume 
of Opitz is a dreary task. His life partly explains the celebrity 
which he enjoyed in Iiis day. As he had no poetical genius, it 
may be observed in his favour, that we find no poetical licenses 
in his conduct. To appear correct and ä-la-mode was the sole 
aim of his literary pursuits and his practical career. He travelled 
frequently, and found many friends and patrons ; for he was an 
accomplished sycophant. At Paris he was received and admired 
by many as 'the great German poet who had redeemed his 
native country from the reproach of barbarism.' This charac- 
teristic Parisian eulogium on Opitz was pronounced by literary 
gentlemen who had not read one line of his poems, and who 
could not even spell one German word ! Opitz was engaged in 
diplomacy, became acquainted with many princes, and was 
elevated to the rank of nobility. On one occasion he was em- 
ployed in a military expedition, when he displayed pitiable 



cowardice; but he consoled himself by reflecting that 'in tliis 
respect afeo'hewas 'like bis model-poet Horace!' In otlier 
respects he had a happier fate than many men of genius, for he 
lived surrounded by contemporary fame, was an honoured guest 
in high circles, and received with great enjoyment many panegy- 
rical addresses in verse and prose. The poems which gained such 
honours are really inferior to the average quality of verses found 
in the provincial newspapers of the present day. We may select 
a fair specimen from a piece written to commend mediocrity in 
the following style : — 


' Happy the man, and truly wise, 
Who careth not to climb at all ! 
For he whose mind would proudly rise, 

Is most in danger of a fall. 
Let each Iiis chosen maiden praise — 
To Phyllis I devote my lays. 

The lofty turret in its pride, 

Must meet the stroke of thunder strong, 

And those who travel far and wide, 
May lose their way, and wander long. 

Let each his chosen maiden praise — 

To Phyllis I devote my lays.' 

This notice of Opitz will fairly explain the nature of that arti- 
ficial school of versification of which he was the head master, and 
we need not describe the qualities of his numerous imitators. A 
few writers of verse who displayed some independent genius and 
taste may be briefly mentioned. Several of these authors produced 
hymns for the Services of the church, which are almost the only 
poems of this period marked by any genuine thought and feeling. 
Paul Flemming (1609-1640) is remembered as the writer of a 
hymn which is still sung in many churches. Andreas Gryphius 
(1616-1664) displayed more poetical genius than any other writer 
of the seventeenth Century ; but his poems, especially his ' Church- 
yard Thoughts' (1656), are füll of gloomy sentiments. He says in 
one of his sonnets — 

' Since first I saw the sun's fair light, no day 
For me without some grief has passed away. 
Happy the child who, from his mother's breast, 
Early departs, in Paradise to rest !' 

This gloomy tone appears to have been unaffected, and was the 
result, probably, of many unhappy circumstances in the life of 
Gryphius. His hymns show the same characteristic. One of 



tliem, which is well known in tlie present day, opens with the fol- 
lowing verse : — 

1 The glories of this earthly ball 
In smoke and ashcs soon must fall. 
The solid rocks must melt away. 

Our treasures and our pleasurcs, 
Must fade as dreams before the day.' 

A Jesuit naraed Friedrich Spee (1595-1635) may be mentioned 
among the writers of acceptable hymns ; but especially on account 
of Iiis benevolent character. He wrote an earnest book to oppose 
the dark and cruel system of burning women for the supposed 
1 crime of witchcraft.' An ecclesiastical superior once asked Spee 
why Iiis hair was so gray, when he was only forty years old. Spee 
replied, ' It is because I have accompanied so many poor women 
to the stake, there to suffer for the crime called witchcraft, of which 
I never knew one of them to be guilty. 1 Johann Scheffler (1624- 
1677) was a writer of some mystical hymns in accordance with 
the doctrines of Jacob Böhme, the theosopliist, which were spread 
in Scheffler's native country, Silesia. Paul Gerhard (1606-1676) 
may be esteemed as the best writer of hymns during this period. 
While other writers imagined that all religious poetry must be 
dismal, Gerhard understood that cheerfulness must accompany 
goodness. An unaffected pious character appears in all Iiis poems. 
His hymn beginning with the line, ' Contimit thy cares to God,' is 
still remembered and sung by many congregations in England as 
well as in Germany. It is generaüy, but erroneously, attributed 
to Luther. 

Passing over many insignificant names, we arrive almost at the 
close of this Century without a trace of poetical improvement. 
Christian Gryphius (1649-1706), the son of Andreas, wrote 
several poems of little merit, in which he imitated the melancholy 
strain of thought which characterises Iiis father's procluctions; but, 
like all imitators, he was inferior to his model. 

Friedrich Canitz (1654-1699) copied theFrench style of Boi- 
leau in several satires. His poems are cold and artificial, but he 
wrote neatly and politely, and thus contributed some influence to- 
wards refinement of language. Johann Besser (1654-1729) was a 
versifier of an order which an English reader can hardly understand. 
He was a ' laureate ' and ' master of ceremonies 1 at a German 
court, and devoted to these offices the studies of his life. His 
verses are adulatory and worthless, but Iiis name may have a place 
here, as he fairly represented the characteristics of a tribe of small 
laureates who cannot be particularly noticed. Benjamin Neu- 
K.IRCH (1665-1729) can be mentioned only as one of many in- 



stanccs of a considerable celebrity gained by slight poetical 

The preceding notices of poetical writers must appear remark- 
ably scanty, as many names, such as Dach, Eist, Dilherr, and 
Neumark, have been omitted. These are hardly equivalent even to 
such obscure names as Welsted, "West, Harte, Jago, and Lovibond, 
in the English literature of the eighteenth Century. Christian 
Günther (1695-1723) may be distinguished from many of the 
rhymers of tliis period by the natural and lively character of some 
of Iiis poems ; but he is remembered chiefly on account of Iiis un- 
happy life. In Iiis youth he wrote several coarse satires, chiefly 
on the pedantic and mercenary studies of the age. These satires 
awakenedthe displeasure of Iiis father, who refusedto acknowledge 
such a scandalous writer as his son. Günther, having neither 
friends nor prospects in the world, abandoned himself to a career of 
dissipation. After an attempt at reformation, he was introduced as 
a poet-laureate to the court of Saxony, where he made his appear- 
ance in a State of hitoxication, and seriously offended the king. At 
last he repented sincerely of his folly, and wrote many verses to 
Iiis father, prayhig for forgiveness. In these supplications he says 
' he can have no heart to reform Iiis conduct untü he is assured 
of paternal pardon,' and promises ' to make restitution to all who 
have been offended by Iiis satires.' With this petition he ven- 
tured to return to Iiis home; but his father drove him from the 
door, and soon afterwards he died in miserable circumstances. 
This brief and sad biography has contributed some interest to 
Günther's poems, and has been perhaps the chief cause of their 

The poetry of this period may be closecl with a short notice of 
Barthold Brockes (1680-1747), whose descriptive poems showed 
some real Observation of nature, and servedto introducethe poems 
of Kaller and other writers of the eighteenth Century. Brockes 
appears to have had a true, unaffected delight in the beauties of 
nature, and consequently Iiis descriptive verses, though havhig no 
great merit, are genuine. A flower garden would supply him 
with materials for the poetry of a lifetime. A present of a rare 
tulip was sure to produce an ode or a sonnet. He seems to have 
been happy in his mediocrity, as he always wrote congratulatory 
verses to hhnself on Iiis birthday. His greatest merit consisted 
in Iiis translations which introduced Thomson's ' Seasons' and 
Pope's 'Essay on Man 1 to many German readers. These and 
many other works, introduced hito Germany during this Century, 
diffused a taste for the study of natural theology, and prepared 
the mhids of many to receive the Deistic philosophy of Kant, 
Mendelssohn, and Lessing, in the following period. 




The literary aspect of this period does not improve when we 
turn our attention to the drama. Andreas Gryphius wrote seve- 
ral tragedies, 1 Leo Armenius' (1646), ' Papinian' (1659), and ' Karl 
Stuart,' which was foiuided on the fate of Charles I. of England. 
These dramas have been regarded as having some importance, on 
account of some improvements which they introduced in plot and 
construction ; but their literary character is low, and they are füll 
of the gloomy sentiments which have been noticed in the occa- 
sional poems of the same author. Yet through all the disguise of 
false taste, we see in this writer some evidences of rude, undis- 
ciplined power. In Iiis ' Charles Stuart' he introduces choruses 
in which ' Keligion' and other personifications speak. Many of the 
extravagant sentiments put into the mouths of these imaginary 
characters are unjust, and betraythe writer's ignorance of the State 
of parties in England; but some of the declamations employed 
have force and point, as we find in the followmg passage : — 

1 Religion speaks. 
Boing Supreme ! whose eye all souIs can see ; 

Whose Service is pure, sclf-denying love ; 
Why in this world hast thou commanded me 

To stay ? Keceive me in yon realms above ! 
Why 'mid the sons of Mesech must I dwell ? 

Alas that I in Kedar's tents abide ! 
Where evil-minded men would me compel 

To aid them, and their traitorous schemes to lüde. 
Alas that e'er from heaven I hither came ! 

My robes are stained with earthly spots ; my face 
No longer with pure brightness shines ; my name 

Is used for falsehood, covered with disgrace. 

* * * * 

Open, ye clouds ! receive me now, ye skies ! 

I fly from carth, and leave my robe behind, 
Which still may serve some traitors for disguise : 
'Tis but a shadow of myself they'll find. 

(Religion fdcs from the earth, and drops her robe.) 

First Zealot. Stay, fairest maid ! why hasten you away ? 
Second. I hold you fast. I love your bright array. 
Third. Nay ; she is gone ! Her empty robe you hold ! 
Second. Well ; this is mine. It's worth can ne'er be told ! 
Fourtli. Some portion of it fairly mine I call ! 
First. Your strife is vain ; for I must have it all. 
Fifth. The robe is torn. 

Sixth. No part of it is thine ! 

For it is mine. 



Seventh. And mine ! 

Eighth. And minc ! 

Nintli. And minc !' 

Daniel Lohenstein (1G38-1683) deserves a place in literary 
history, only in connection with a warning on the tendency of a 
bad theatrical taste. His productions, ' Ibrahim Bassa' (published 
in 1689), ' Cleopatra' (1661), and 1 Epicharis,' are stränge signs of 
the condition of public taste during the times when they were 
applauded even by educated people. The style of these tragedies 
is extremely bombastic, and the barbarities which they introduced 
on the stage are quite imfit for description. It is a curious fact, 
that the writer of these barbarous dramas was an educated man, 
and was regarded in private life as a correct and respectable charac- 
ter. Johann Klay, Chkistian Hoffmann, Johann Hallmann, 
and Christian Weise, might be described as dramatic writers in 
this period ; but their productions have no literary merits. The 
favourite theatrical spectacles of these times were operas fall of 
gaudy display and unreal characters. Allegorical and religious 
pieces, and so-called ' moralities,' were also exhibited on the stage 
in a very absurd style. The multitude of theatrical productions 
during this time, though quite unworthy of notice with regard to 
their literature, are curious, as instances of the degradation and 
folly to which the stage may be reduced. As they contained neither 
poetical nor moral interest, they endeavoured to keep awake public 
attention by such curiosities as ' fire-works,' 4 cannonades,' 1 regi- 
ments of soldiers in the costumes of various nations,' and capital 
punishment executed on the stage. Mars, Venus, Apollo, Farne, 
Peace, Virtue, Vice, France, Spain, and Italy, were introduced as 
dramatic characters. In one piece 1 Judas hangs himself on the 
stage, while Satan sings an am.' In another opera Nebuchad- 
nezzar exhibits himself dressed in ' eagles' feathers.' In ' Semira- 
mis' the roses in the royal garden are metamorphosed into ladies. 
In 1 Jason' the ship Argo is raised into the heavens, and changed 
into a constellation. 1 Echo' was a favourite theatrical character. 
In one of Lohenstein's pieces the 1 continent of Asia ' is introduced 
as a person deploring her calamities in the following style : — 

' Asia, in a fcmale dress, is bonnd by the Vices, and brought lipon the stage.- 
Wo to me, Asia ! Wo ! 

On the world's stage I had the highest place ; 
I once was crowned with every earthly honour. 

* * * * 

Lightnings ! destroy the Vices who thus bind me ! 
Thunders ! crush down these monsters !' ■ 

It may safely be predicted that dramatic entertainments will 



ncver fall below the tone of the German theatre in this time. In 
Prince Henry's words, it 1 sounded the lowest base-string of hurni- 

A slight comic piece by Christian Weise, though it contains 
little wit and humour, gives a fair caricature of the low dramatic 
writers of Iiis time : — 


Robert. This amuscment is likoly to be attended with some vexa- 
iion. I recommended the Prince, at this time of festivity, to annisc 
himself by laughing at some rustic comedy, as I thought that some 
village schoolmaster would soon produce a piece ridiculous enough 
for our purpose. But now so many candidates in dramatic compo- 
sition appear, that I know not how we can please all. However, I 
may call over their names and titles, and hear what they have to 
say. . . Here — 4 Stephen the bellows-blower.' 

Stephen. Here I am, sir. I blow the bellows for the Organist at 

Sighart. Well, what is the subject of your comedy? 

Stephen. It is a conversation between the four winds, north, soutli, 
<east and west, contending together about tearing the cloak away from 
a poor traveller. At the end of the piece the sun appears, and con- 
soles the poor man for the loss of Iiis garment. 

Oursi. Very well. Kow, Mr ' Veit Habermuss, ballad-singcr and 

Veit. Here I am, sir. 

Robert. How have you found leisure to write a comedy? 
Veit. To confess the truth, sir, we are now reprinting news from 
old papers. It serves very well, for ' there is nothing new under the 

Robert. You have an easy trade? 

Veit. Yes ; but it requires some tact. I cmploy an experienced 
beggar, who begs Iiis way every year as far as Yenice, and brings 
back as many wonderful tales and prodigies as will feed our papers 
for ten years. 

Robert. Well, what is the theme of your comedy ? 

Veit. Sir, it must not be regarded as a light comedy. It is a piece 
on the ' Treaty of the Türks with the Muscovites.' .... 

Cursi. The next name on the list of candidates is that of Mr 
4 Goatstail, bagpiper and birdcatcher at Plumpenau.' .... Now, 
Mr Goatstail, what is your comedy? 

Goatstail. Sir, it is a musical opera of the ' Enamoured Princess,' 
and contains seven 4 dramatis persona; ;' but I can perform the whole 
piece, without any assistance, excepting my bagpipe, which will take 
the part of the orchcstra 

Cursi. The next candidatc is 'Mr Weathcrcock, bellringcr at 
Rümpels church.' .... What is your play ? 

Wcathercock. Sir, I have put into verse the tragical history of a 



bell-founder at Halberstadt who murdered one of Iiis journeymen 
about a hundrcd years ago 

Cursi. Here is another candidate. What is your name, sir ? 

Swalloivncst. Kilian Swallownest. I am the gravedigger at Esels- 

Cursi. And you have made a comedy ? 

Swallownest. Yes, sir; on ' Daniel in the Lions' Den.' .... And if 
you will help nie in bringing my piece forward, I will dig a grave for 
you at any time gratis. 

Cursi. Very good. Wait a while. I must now call on * Alexander 
"Wunderleich, otter-catcher and seller of sweetnieats.' So you have 
made a comedy? 

Alexander. Yes, sir; I have long studied the dramatic art. Iattend 
many fairs and markets, and when trade is dull, I find it necessary 
to collect customers by acting farces. My comedy is on the notable 
history of * St George and the Dragon.' 

To conclude thesenotices of the poetical literature of a very dull 
period, we may sura up its characteristics in two words : pedantry 
and bad taste. A modern critic (Gervinus), after giving many 
tedious details of the feeble versification of this Century, says : — ' If 
the reader complains that he finds in these pages little more than 
a catalogue of empty names; or that he derives from my analysis 
no result save a Sensation of weariness, I must congratulate myself 
on havhig conveyed a faithful impression of the original produe- 
tions which I have criticised; for weariness is exactly the effect 
which they would have produced on any reader.' 


To explain the comparative poverty of German prose during this 
period, we must again refer to the fact, that the dead languages of 
Greece and Eome chiefly engaged the attention of the literati of 
Germany during the times which produced in England such 
writers as Milton, Dryden, Temple, Locke, and Tillotson. 

One of our quotations from a prose writer of this period 
(Schupp) will fully confirm our statement that, even in the seven- 
teenth Century, the German language was not regarded by learned 
men as a fit vehicle for polite literature. Consequently it was de- 
voted to impolite literature ; for this term may be applied, without 
any caricature, to many of the characteristic produetions, especially 
the novels and satires, of this period. As examples of numerous 
Latin writers on philology and theology, whose works cannot be 
noticed here, we may briefly mention such names as Johann 
Eenest Grabe (1666-1712), Johann Büddaeus (1667-1729), 
the author of a ' Historical Dictionary ; ' and Christopher Cel- 
larius the philologer. 




As Martin Opitz has been described in unfavourablc terms as 
the model poctaster of this time, it is a pleasure to give to him the 
credit that is due for his endeavours, in prose and verse, to culti- 
vate his native language. He wrote, in prose, a work on ' German 
Poetry' (1624), in which the laws of poetic composition and the 
mechanism of versification are explained. A ' Pastoral Tale,' 
which he published in 1630, does not merit notice except on ac- 
count of its style. 

Instead of the direct satires and invectives of the sixteenth Cen- 
tury, satirical novels form prominent features in the prose literature 
of this period. Hans Michael Moscherosch (1600-1669) wrote 
a novel entitled 1 The Wonderful and True History of Philander of 
Sittewald. ' The satire of this story is generally coarse, and many 
of its attempts at humour are tedious. This novel shows the pe- 
dantic taste of the time when it was written ; for its pages are 
crowded with Latin, French, and Italian quotations, apparently 
given for no purpose but to display the author's learning. Another 
satirical novelist, Samuel Greifenson, wrote a tale of adventure 
entitled ' Simplicissimus ' (1669), which in some respects resembles 
the story of ' Gil Blas. 1 Though rude and coarse in its style and 
construction, it gives a varied and vivid picture of life in Germany 
durmg the Thirty Years' War. The hero is a character who, under 
the disguise of affected ignorance and simplicity, expresses Iiis 
satire on the fashions of society, and the vices of the times, espe- 
cially the license and demoralisation of military men. The follow- 
ing passage will give some notion of his humour : — 


' There is in our times (which, as some teil us, are " the last times ") 
a certain disease prevalent among poor people, and these are its 
Symptoms : When the unhappy patients have scraped a few farthings 
into their purses, they attire themselves in a mockery of fashion, 
wear innumerable useless silk bands on their dress, ape the manners 
of the aristocracy, and begin to talk about their ancestry ; though, 
after a strict investigation of their lineage, we find among their male 
ancestors such heroes as chimney-sweepers, jugglers, and rope-dan- 
cers, and among the " ladies," in their tables of pedigree, charwomen, 
besom-binders, and even witches. I would not exactly imitate the 
conduct, nor catch the disease, of these people ; yet one must not be 
altogcther out of fashion ; and, to confess the truth, I have sometimes 
suspected that I must have desce^ided from the nobility, because I 
have such an innate propensity to all kinds of foppery and idleness. 
But, putting all jokes aside, my parentage will be found. in sevcral 
points, like that of the greatest princes, if the reader will be so kind 
as to overlook all the points of difference. My father's mansion in 
Spessart was built by his own hands, which is more than can be said 
of the palaces of many princes. In some details of architecture my 



father had a peculiar taste. For instance, he decorated the exterior 
of Iiis building with common plaster, and for the roof, instead of 
barren tiles, lead, or copper, he used a good thatch of straw, thus dis- 
playing Iiis love of agriculturc in a style worthy of a descendant from 
the first nobleman who tilled the ground, Adam. According to the 
same antique taste, the fence around our mansion was made, not of 
stones, which may be found everywhere, nor of bricks made of common 
clay, and baked in a short time, but of oak-palings cut from a noble 
tree, which had required a hundred years to attain its füll stature, and 
for some centuries had dropped its acorns to feed swine and produce 
fat hams and savoury sausages. In the painting of the interior the 
same antique taste was manifest, as my father allowed his walls to 
become slowly darkened with the smoke from our wood fire. There 
was an aristoeratie reason for this ; for, in the first place, this colour 
or shade requires a long time to produce it in its füll tone; and when 
this is gained, it is certainly one of the most permanent styles of 
painting. The tapestry on our walls was a fabric of the most delicate 
make, for it was all the work of that cunning artist " Arachne " (the 
spider), who contended even with Minerva in this department of art. 
Our Windows were all dedicated to St Noglass ; for as it takes a 
longer time to grow hörn than to make glass, my father preferred 
the former. I hardly need to remind the reader that this preference 
was in strict aecordance Avith that refined aristoeratie taste which 
values trifles according to the time and trouble required to produce 
them. My father kept not lackeys, pages, and grooms, but was always 
surrounded by faithful and useful dependents, such as sheep, goats, and 
swine, all dressed in their natural and becoming suits of livery. . . . 
In our armoury we had the weapons which my father had often boldly 
carried to the field ; mattocks, hoes, shovels, and hay-forks, such wea- 
pons as, historians teil us, were employed even by the ancient Eomans 
during times of peace. My father was a great military man, and had 
the command of a regiment of oxen. He was noted for his excellent 
science in " fortification " (against his great enemy, hunger), which 
was displayed in his distribution of the Contents of the farmyard on 
the land. For genteel exercise and amusement he liked wood-cutting, 
or cleaning out the stalls of the cattle. And with these and similar 
measures he carried on, like a true nobleman, a warfare against all 
the world (as far as he could reach), and often returned gloriously 
from the field, at the close of a campaign (or harvest), laden with a 
good booty. I teil these things, to show that I can be in fashion, and 
talk like other people when I like ; but I assure the reader that I am 
not puffed up and vain of my glorious ancestry; and to prove this, I 
now leave all aristoeratie pretension, and condescend to use a com- 
mon style. In piain words, I was born in Spessart, and my father 
was a poor farmer.' 

Lohenstein the dramatist wrote a long pedantic romance en- 
titled ' Arminius and Thusnelda' (1689), which was praised extra- 
vagantly in its day, though we may doubt whether its admirers had 



performed tlie task of reading it ; for it filled four quarto volumes. 
It is noticed here as a fair specimen of several heroic romances 
published in this period, and becanse it had some merit in its style. 
Christian Weise (1642-1708) wrote, in a very piain and unpre- 
tending style, several tarne romances of good moral tendency. 

No work of fiction produced such an excitement during these 
times as tlie 1 Robinson Crusoe ' of Daniel Defoe, which was 
written in 1719, and appeared in a German translation in 1721. 
It was read in Germany with tlie grcatest avidity, and in the space 
of about tliirty years after its appearance, more than forty imitative 
novels appeared, each bearing tlie selling word Robinson on its 
title-page. Among these imitations we find the ' German Robin- 
son,' the ' Italian Robinson,' the ' Silesian Robinson,' the 1 Moral 
Robinson,' the 1 Medical Robinson,' the ' Invisible Robinson.' In 
some novels a variety was introduced, by changing old Crusoe into 
a heroine; for instance, under the title of the 'European Robin- 
sonetta.' One of these imitations, written by an author named 
Schnabel, between 1731 and 1743, was permanently successful, and, 
under the title of the ' Island of Felsenburg,' is read with pleasure 
in the present day. 

The other prose writers of this time are not numerous enough 
to require Classification. They wrote chiefly either satires or 
moral and religious discourses. 

Johann Riemer, a preacher at Hamburg, and the friend of Bal- 
thasar Schupp, published in 1673 a prose satire on the poetasters 
of Iiis times. It describes their characteristics so well, that a few 
sentences may be given here. The author, in the following pas- 
sage, professes to give useful advice to an ineipient poetaster 
named Hans Wurst : — 


' Learning is quite unnecessary in the trade you intend to follow ; 
but if you wish to read a few books, avoid all so-called classic 
■writers, and read the jest-books of Marcolph, Claus Narr, and 
Eulenspiegel. These will teach you the whole art of poetry in a 
fortnight, if you are not a hopeless dunce. I will give you a few use- 
ful reeeipts froni which you may concoct such things as congratulatory 
verses for weddings and other occasions without number. But indeed 
a little exercise in biting your pen, and gazing up at the ceiling, will 
generali)' produce all the ideas required in such occasional poems. 
To attain facility, however, you must keep your wits in practice by 
continually making verses on all kinds of trivial subjects ; for in- 
stance, a sonnet " on Lisettc's new straw bonnet," or a canzonet u on 
Durandula's bodice." " Cordelia' s nightcap " may suggest materials 
enough to fill a long ode. Acquire the art of producing rhymes for 
the most uncouth words, and if you are obliged to use nonsense 



sometimcs, say that you did it to produce a ccrtain droll effect. 
However insignificant your verses may be, never publish them with- 
out soine high-sounding title, such as " Parnassian Bridal-Torches." 
Never mind about the sense of it, if it is only pompous enougli. 
Though tlie subject of your poem may be trivial, take care to writc 
a grand introduction, invoking Apollo and all the nine Muses to 
corae to your assistance in a great work. This style of building a 
grand entrance to a little house is very good in poetry. When you 
make a bcginning never care about the end : they will match to- 
gether in sorae way no doubt. Expletives are too much dcspised 
in these times. Fill your verses with them, as they are very cheap. 
Employ also as many allusions to pagan my thology as you can find ; 
for thus you may fill your pages with numerous explanatory notes 
about ancient deities, Mars, Vulcan, and Venus, which need not be 
very correct, as few readers trouble themselves about such matters. 
Ilse two or three words instead of one whcnever you can ; for in- 
stance, style nature " our productive mother," and call your dog " the 
barking quadruped." Never blot out what you have written, for if 
you do not esteem highly your own productions, who will ? Believe 
all that your friends and admirers say, and praise all who praise 
you. If a friend declares that you are " the Opitz of the age," im- 
mediately return the compliment by styling him "the Flemming of Ins 
times." When you are found guilty of bad spelling, you must assert 
boldly that you did it on principle, and that you hold some new and 
peculiar views on orthography. This may appear ridiculous to an 
inexperienced author, but I assure you, that however foolish your 
productions may be, you will find admirers and imitators so long as 
you maintain a hardy self-confidence. Finally, if you would aspire to 
a laureate's place, you must put away all pride and shame. Plague 
some prince or nobleman with odes and other adulatory rhymes 
until he gives you a place to make you quiet. Now you may leave 
the pursuit of poetry to your admirers, who will write panegyrics 
upon you ; and if any one dares to censure you, how easily and pro- 
bably you may now ascribe Iiis censures to mean and envious 
motives 1 ' 

Balthasar Schupp (1610-1661) was one of the best German 
prose writers of the seventeenth Century. He was a preacher at 
Hamburg, and was noted as an Opponent of the scholastic theo- 
logy and the pedantry of his times. He contended for the use of 
the German language in education, and ridiculed the stränge style 
of writing, half-German and half-Latin, which was admired by 
some pedants. His censures on this style can hardly be under- 
stood without an example. The following short passage from a 
' Discourse on History,' by Nicolaus Gundlinc-, not only justifies 
the censures of Schupp, but also shows that the pedantic style 
was maintained even in the eighteenth Century. The work from 
which this barbarous passage is extracted was published in 1737: 


1 Not only Cicero, but all sensible men have agreed in saying that 
Historia is Magistra Scholaque vitoß. For even the Stulti, as well 
as the Sapientes, may profit by this study. The latter may gain 
by it ; for they can never be so wise as not to be able to become 
wiser, and especially, ut caveant ab artificiis stultorum quae detegit 
aperitque Historia. It also supplies practice for logic: versatur 
enim circa distinguenda verosimilia a vero dissi'milibus. 1 This pas- 
sage abnost equals the feat of Hudibras, who could ' pronounce 

A leash of languages at once.' 

In Opposition to such jargon, Balthasar Schupp wrote in a piain 
and unaffected German style. Our second extract from his writ- 
ings may serve to show that the populär ignorance of which Fis- 
chart complained in 1573 was still flom-ishing in the seventeenth 
Century : — 


' Foreign words have now become so fashionable, that even our 
peasants understand many things better under their Latin than 
their Teutonic titles; and if a writer would take the pains to 
translate all the Latin words into German, he would only make his 
style unintelligible. For instance, if you mention " the commaudant 
at Rostock," cverybody understands your meaning ; but ask our pea- 
sants "Wh© is the ober gebiet iger (over-ruler) at Rostock ?" and you 
will get no better answer than that which our weak-minded school- 
master gave to the inspector's question — " Who was the father of 
Shem, Ham, and Japhet, the children of Noah?" The puzzled peda- 
gogue went home and complained to his wife that the inspector had 
asked an unreasonable question. " Does he suppose," said he, " that 
I have spent ten years like himself at a university ? " " And could 
you not answer ? " said his wife, laughing at him. " Then teil ine 
who is the father of J oachini, John, and Peter, the sons of our neigh- 
bour Lox the milier ? " " Lox the milier," said the schoolmaster. 
So the next day he again met the inspector, who repeated the ques- 
tion, "Who was the father of Shem, Ham, and Japhet, the children 
of Noah ? " " Lox the miller," said the poor schoolmaster. You 
would not get a better answer if you asked our peasants ■ Who is 
the obergebietiger at Rostock 

' But I assure you that our language does not require for its beauty 
and improvement any of these foreign importations. Why should 
w r e have two words to do the work which one can do very well ? To 
all those who love alFectations, I M r ould recommend the example of 
an official gentleman in Hesse, who is generally styled " Fat Law- 
rence," and who has shown that even our honiely mother-tongue can 
be turned to very polite uses for those who do not like a piain way 
of speaking. They teil nie that when he wants a kuife, he says to 
his boy, " Page, convey to nie the bread-dividing instrument." At 
another time, when he wished to teil Ins wife that the clock had 



Struck nine, and ifc was time for ladies to go to bed, hc proved him- 
self a Hessian Cicero by saying, " Help of my soul ! — desire of my 
eyes ! — my superior seif ! the metallic hollow has resounded to nine 
inflictions ! Rise, therefore, on the columns intended to support thy 
body, and repair to the bed replete with feathers !" A similar style 
may bc found in a book lately published by a promising philologist, 
who says in one passage, " The variegated children of the atmosphere 
begin to musicize!" This simply means, "the birds begin to sing." 
Our mother-tongue is injured by all such affectations. Every language 
has its peculiar genius, as our wise King Charles knew when he said 
that he would talk in French to ladies, in Italian or Spanish to kings, 

and would reserve German to threaten his enemies How- 

ever, wisdom is not confined to any language ; and therefore I ask, 
why may I not learn in German how to know, love, and serve God 
— that is theology ? Or if I wish to study medicine, why may I not 
learn how to discern and eure diseases as well in German as in Greek 
and Arabic ? The French and the Italians employ their native lan- 
guages in teaching all the arts and sciences. There are many great 
cardinals and prelates in Rome who cannot speak Latin ; and why 
may not a man, though ignorant of Latin and Greek, become a good 
German preacher ? I know he may ; for when I studied at Leyden, 
a new preacher was appointed to the pulpit of the Lutheran congre- 
gation there. He had. been a painter, and had no advantages of 
classical education ; so many of the genteel students of law made 
jests on this preacher, because he ventured to ascend the pulpit before 
he had mastered Latin. However, he understood the Scriptures 
well, and I was more edihed by his piain homilies than by the 
sermons of many learned and Latinised professors.' 


'I knew a cavalier (a military man) who had been persuaded by 
one of these fabricators of false prophetic almanacs, that in two years 
there would be a great battle at Nuremberg, and that he (the 
cavalier) would drive the royal forces from the field. The cavalier 
went with his troops to a campaign, and five months afterwards I 
heard the news of his death ; but I have not heard any news of the 
• great battle of Nuremberg." Now Hans Puckel of that place is fre- 
quently here (in Hamburg), and lodges at the White Swan. Let any 
one ask the landlord or the " boots " ät that inn if Hans Puckel has 
ever said anything about the defeat of the royal forces at JSuremberg, 
or of any battle there. Yet I know many persons, holding respect- 
able stations in society, who still believe that Providence must regu- 
late the aifairs of nations and individuals aecording to the pre- 
surnptuous sayings of the almanac-makers. In vain have many of 
our best divines protested against these vanities. George Alb recht 
says of the prognosticators, " Their professed explanations of wars, 
pestilences, and other evils, by the supposed aspect and influences 
of the planets, are opposed to the doctrine of the Gospel." Luther 
says distinctly, "Astrology is no science, for it has neither well- 



founded principles nor demonstrations, but is a mere quackery, 
depending on chances for occasional good-luck." The logic of the 
astrologers is nothing more than Ulis, "Such an event has happened 
twice or thrice, and may possibly happen again, so we will predict 
it." Dr Jacob Andreas, another good divine, in a sermon printed 
in 1578, thunders against the false prophets in these words: — "Un- 
happily," he says, u there are many people who have more faith 
in the almanae than in the Bible. With regard to the changes of 
the seasons and the affairs of human life, they constantly refer not 
to the Scriptures, but to the so-called prophetic calendar, and if 
they find it right in one instance, they say ' of course it will be right 
in another.' The only prediction of weather on which a Christian 
should depend is that which was writtcn by Moses. But now, as- 
people take the false prophecies of vain men instead of the Seripture, 
we need not wonder that we have such stränge weather — summer 
in winter, and winter in summer — as we see in these tiines." Such 
is the admonition of this divine, and still the same ignorance and 
folly is prevalent. When we preach to the people, and teil them, 
in language like that of Jeremiah, that unless they repent they 
will surely be punished, who believes our message ? How many 
converts do we make ? How few ! But when an astrologer pre- 
dicts that a great calamity will happen on a certain day, what dismal 
forebodings tili your minds! How firmly you believe in the idle 
words of an impostor ! There was a notable example of this in the 
year 1638, when an astrologer at Venice ventured to prophesy that, 
on the 23d day of July in that year, all the countries lying under 
the sign of Leo would be afflicted with earthquakes, floods, wondrous 
signs, flaming comets, and conflagrations. What terrors seized the 
minds of the people ! Many who were called Christians looked for- 
ward to the Coming day with dread, and sorae of them would have 
sold their possessions and left the country, but their pastors and 
teachers with difficulty restrained them I will give you an- 

other fact. A friend, a respectable divine, paid Iiis addresses to a 
young lady ; but an astrologer assured him that the unfortuuate 
maiden was doomed by the stars to marry an old man, and to have 
no family. However, my friend, by the favour of Providence, fal- 
sified the prediction very soon, for before he was twenty-four years- 
old he married the maiden, and they have now a family of nine boys 
and girls.' 

These extracts, from the discursive and familiär writings of 
Schupp, are given not as spechnens of any remarkable literary 
skill, but because they may convey some just ideas of the State 
of literature and populär intelligence in his times. For the same 
reason we may notice here the low productions of Abraham 
A Sancta Clara (1642-1709), who was a monk and a populär 
preacher in this period. He wrote and publislied sermons füll 
of puns, jokes, and familiär anecdotes. If a modern reader can 



imagine some of the lightest passages of comic literature delivered 
from the pulpit, and minglcd with some solemn and severe admo- 
nitions, he may form a notion of the style of this writer. 

No historical works of any importance were produced in this 
Century. Adam Olearius (1600-1671) publishcd, in 1656, a 
i Description of Travels in Kussia and Persia,' which is plainly 
written, and contains accounts of populär manners which are con- 
firmed by the Statements of recent travellers. 

Scriver, Arnold, and Spener, were among the most remarkable 
theological writers who used the German language. Christian 
Scriver wrote a series of short meditations entitled ' GotthokVs 
Accidental Meditations' (1704), in a simple and devotional style. 
Gottfried Arnold wrote a work styled ' The Mystery of Divine 
Wisdom' (1700). The 1 Letters ' and 'Theological Thoughts ' of 
Philip Jacob Spener, which were published in 1700 and 1702, 
were favourably received by the stricter class of Protestants. 

The greatest writer of this period was Gottfried Wilhelm 
Leibnitz (1646-1716), but Iiis principal works are not written in 
German. He was distinguished by versatility of talents, united 
with powers of deep thought, and was celebrated as a philosopher, 
a philologer, and a statesman. At the early age of fourteen he 
began his studies in a university, where he displayed a precocious 
genius. Moral philosophy and geometry were his favourite 
studies, but he also devoted attention to natural history, che- 
mistry, and even alchemy. He was a reader of ancient classic 
authors, and acquired several of the modern languages. He was 
engaged in diplomacy, was noted as an industrious correspondent, 
wrote poems, and travelled in France, England, and Italy. It is 
remarkable that he wrote so much, as he was engaged in so many 
public affairs. He wrote to advance the cultivation of his native 
language ; but his works in German are not distinguished by 
clearness and elegance. The favourite philosophical topics of 
Leibnitz were connected with natural theology and the moral 
government of the world. The argument of his work entitled 
' Theodicee ' may be found in the treatise on ' Natural Theology 1 
by the late Dr Chalmers. The ' German Works ' of Leibnitz 
have been collected and edited by G. E. Guhrauer (1838-1840). 
From this collection we translate a few passages foimd in an 
1 Essay on Wisdom : ' — 


'Happiness consists in a irue and harcnonious development of 
the faculties of our nature, and all unhappiness may be regarded 
as arising from some disease oi* injury of our faculties, by which 
their unity is interrupted. By the unity of our powers or faculties 



I mean that coursc of developmcnt in which one is unfolded in har- 
mony with all the others (for instance, a physical power in harmony 
with tlie moral power of conscience). Tins rule of unity in variety 
produces in human, and also in external nature, that harmony and 
order which we delight to behold. From this fair order heauty 
Springs, and beauty awakens love. Thus we find a close connection 
between all the ideas which we represent by such words as "hap- 
piness," "joy," " love," " perfection," " power," a freedom," " harmony," 
and " beauty," as they all imply that " unity in variety " which we 
regard as the law of nature. Now when the faculties of the human 
soul are developed in accordance with this law, there is a feeling of 
consistency, order, freedom, power, and completeness, which pro- 
duces an abiding happiness : this is distinct from all sensuous 
pleasures, as it is constant, does not deceive us, and cannot produce 
future unhappiness, as partial pleasures may : it may therefore be 
termed a pure joy. It is always attended by an enlightened reason, 
and an impulse toward all goodness and virtue. Sensuous, transi- 
tory, or partial pleasures (that is, pleasures not in accordance with 
the wliole of our nature, which is rational as well as physical) may 
easily be mistaken for happiness ; but they may be clearly distin- 
guished by this mark, that while they gratify the senses, they do 
not satisfy reason. An unwise indulgence in such pleasures may 
introduce discord in our nature, and thus produce many evils. 
Pleasure, therefore, must not be regarded as an end, but may be 
employed as one of the means of happiness. It should be viewed 
as a delicious cate, with a suspicion that it may contain something 
poisonous. In short, pleasures, like our daily diet, must be regu- 
lated by reason. But rational enjoyment arising out of a general 
harmonious wellbeing of our nature, has in itself an evidence that 
it is purely good, and can produce no evil in the future. The chief 
means of promoting such joy must be the enlightenment of reason, 
and the exercise of the will in acting in accordance with reason. . . . 

* If external advantages and pleasures could produce the happiness 
I have described, it would certainly be found in the possession of 
great and rieh men. But Christ himself has said it is very difKcult 
for rieh men "to enter the Kingdom of Heaven," or, in other 
words, to attain true happiness. Having around them an abundance 
of sensuous luxuries, they are disposed to seek satisfaction in joys 
which must be transitory; oi-, when they rise above physical 
pleasures, they generally depend on an ambition to gain honour and 
applause. But sickness and age will surely take away all sensuous 
delights,and misfortunes may ruin all the objects of ambition. Thus 
all external pleasures fail, and those who have depended upon them 
find that they have been deeeived, as they now possess no permanent 
internal enjoyment 

'It is not so with the joy Avhich Springs from internal harmony and 
order, an enlightened reason and a love of goodness. This harmony 
in our own nature prepares us to enjoy the general harmony and 
beauty of the universe. We explore the fountain, trace the course, 



and see the end of all crcation. We rise abovo earthly carcs and 
fears, and look down, as from a Station among the stars, on all mean 
pleasures. As we undcrstand the harmony of that great System of 
nature in which we form parts, we rejoice over all the goodness 
manifested in the past, cheerfully anticipate the future, and gladly 
take our part in promoting the universal wellbeing and har- 

' In such concord with ourselves, and with the universe in which 
wc live, true happiness is found ; and therefore, though (as I have 
said) rieh and favoured individuals generally fail to attain it, it is 
still true that they have the greatest powers for producing happiness 
not only for themselves, but for others. They may co-operate in the 
general design of the universe on a large Scale. One rieh and power- 
ful man may live and act (in contrast with less favoured men) as if 
he had a thousand hands or a thousand lives. Our only true and 
worthy life must be measured by the amount of good which we do. 
If one man, in the course of a short life, does as much good as others 
do in a thousand years, his life, however short, is worth a thousand 
years of ordinary activity 

* The beauty of the universe (thus regarded) is so great, its con- 
templation has such sweetness, the light in the mind and the joy in 
the heart awakened by it have such excellence, even in this life, that 
those who have tasted this true happiness will esteem it above all 
transitory delights. And when we remember that the soul is im- 
mortal, and that all goodness in this world will surely produce fruits 
in the life to coine, we shall at once see that the happiness which 
Springs from wisdom and goodness is indescribably great and glo- 
rious.' * 

Our notices have shown few marks of progress in the seven- 
teenth Century. Yet the ' literary associations ' of this time, 
though they produced no works of genius, had some good influence 
on the cultivation of the language. The fictions of this time, 
though rude in an artistic point of view, were better than the per- 
sonal invectives of the preceding Century. The translations from 
English winters supplied models of style which were employed 
with advantage by German authors in the eighteenth Century. 
Lastly, the writings of Leibnitz threw some intellectual radiance 
over Iiis times. We now proeeed to the times of Haller, Gel- 
eert, Klopstock, and Lessing, in which hnprovement will be 
more clearly visible. 

* Some further notice of the philosophical writings of Leibnitz will be found in a 
eueeeeding section on metaphysical literature. 




This period was marked by improvement in prose as well as 
poetry. The English essayists Addison, Steele, and others, had 
supplied models of neat and clear prose, wliich German authors 
were glad to imitate. Accordingly, we find an English tone in the 
essays of Gellert, Garve, and several other prose writers of the 
eighteenth Century, who were distinguished rather by good judg- 
ment than great abilities. Another feature of their writings is 
their constant regard to moral Utility. On this account they have 
been exposed to the ridicule of some recent critics. There was a 
remarkablc tendency in the earlier part of this period to judge 
literature and philosophy by the Standard of common sense, and 
even poetry was submittcd to logical analysis, and subordinated to 
moral purposes. 


The prevailing taste in poetry cluring this time is displayed in 
a work on the ' Critical Study of Poetic Art,' wliich was produced 
by Johann Jacob Breitinger in 1740. This book is written in 
a correct and sensible style ; but the author regarded poetry as 
consisting chiefly in description, and maintained that it should 
be limited to the inculcation of moral precepts. Consequently the 
fahles of Gellert and Hagedorn were regarded as productions of 
poetic genius, though they did not rise above the mediocrity gene- 
rally found in such compositions. But even these simple and un- 
pretendhig pieces of versification were naturally received as signs 
of progress beyond the meaningless of Opitz and the 
bombast of Lohenstein. 

A controversy regarding the nature of poetry was opened during 
this period, and may be briefly noticed here, as it produced some 
considerable results in the writings of Lessing. Johann Chris- 
toph Gottsched (1700-1766) was one of the heroes in this lite- 
rary warfare, and became notable as a man of pedantic taste. It 
may be said, however, in his favour, that he was reasonably 
offended by the dramatic productions of his day, and zealously en- 
deavoured to reform the German stage. He wrote a paraphrase of 
Addison's ' Cato,' and several critical essays, which prove that he 
knew little of poetry beyond its forms. Jacob Böhmer (1698- 



1783) maintained, in Opposition to the pedantry of Gottsched, that 
the object of poetry mnst be to excite Imagination and emotion. 
The nature of their controversy is implied in the fact, that while 
Gottsched reprobated Milton's ' Paradise Lost ' as an unclassical 
production, Bodmer defended it as a work of the highest poetical 
genius. Unfortunately he also proceeded to imitate it, as well as 
he conld, by writing, in miserable hexameters, a tedious epic on the 
Delnge, which he styled ! The Noachide.' The attempted sublimity 
of this work is often ridicnlous, as in a passage where ' a watery 
comet ' is described as Coming into collision with the earth, and 
producing the Flood. Yet Bodmer had some merit, especially in 
Iiis revival of the interest of national literatnre by the publication 
of various specimens of ancient poetry. The writers who were 
attached to Gottsched require no particular notices, as their verses 
were cold and artificial; but Bodmer numbered among his friends 
Klopstock and other young men of some promise. Albkecht 
von Haller (1708-1777) is a very favourable specimen of the 
literary men of this period. He was an accomplished scholar, 
chiefly devoted to the studies of medicine and natural philosophy, 
but wrote several didactic poems, and a descriptive poem on the 
Alps, which may be ranked among the best of its class. Chris- 
tian Gellert deserves notice chiefly on account of Iiis prose 
writings, though he wrote many pleasing and populär fables, in 
accordance with the maxim of Breitinger, that even poetry should 
be devoted to Utility. Lichtwer, Zacharia, Hagedorn, and 
Pfeffel, wrote fables, which enjoyed a considerable popularity, 
though they had little poetic merit. 

Arnold Ebert (1723-1795) was chiefly known as the promotcr 
of a new literary epidemic, which was styled the Anglomania. 
He translated Young's ' Night-Thoughts,' some of Richardson's 
long novels, and Macpherson's ' Ossian,' and these English books 
were read with enthusiastic admiration. Even Kant, the abstract 
thinker, was delighted with the perusal of llichardson's senti- 
mental iictions. The rhapsodies of Macpherson were received with 
a simple faith in their wonderful antiquity, and probably suggested 
to Klopstock his day-dreams of an ancient order of German bards 
who never existed. The 'Night-Thoughts' produced, or nou- 
rished, a disposition to gloomy and sentimental versification, and 
this was especially regarded as an important Symptom of the 
Anglomania. It is amusing to observe that some German 
critics gravely ascribe the morbid and affected tone of some parts 
of their literatnre to English influence ; yet there is some truth 
in their remarks. On the other side, it may be noticed that the 
works of Milton, Pope, and Thomson, contributed favourable 
impulses to German poetry. 



Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock was born in 1724. Though 
the enthusiasm which once ranked him, as an epic poet, with 
Homer and Milton, has for ever passed away, his name is still asso- 
ciated with pleasant recollections. Amid the cold and imitative 
versification of his times, his poems appeared as the results of tnie 
Inspiration. The idea of his epic poem ' The Messiah ' was no 
cloubt derived from Milton ; yet it was not a mechanical imitation, 
but a work of the heart as well as the mind. But Klopstock 
attempted to perform a task in which Milton failed. The simple 
reality of the Gospel nan-ative is so complete in itself, and so 
deeply interesting, that all additions of supernatural and mytholo- 
gical incidents can only detract from its dignity. It is a moral, 
not an epic subject, and the poet can add nothing to its interest 
and iinportance. Klopstock must have feit the impropriety of inter- 
weaving such a histoiy with poetical fictions, or he would not have 
resorted to the expedient of Alling so many pages of his poem 
with conversations and descriptions. These interpolations make 
the work so tedious, that it may be safely said few persons have 
read through ' The Messiah.' Goethe says that one of his father's 
friends 'read through the filmst ten cantos once in every year;' 
but it may be added that this admirer of Klopstock ' read hardly 
any other author,' and consequently devoted to his aimual task an 
unimpaired faculty of attention. These first ten cantos are con- 
siderably superior to the remainder of the poem, which appears to 
have been in a great measure the result of mechanical labour. 
The first three cantos appeared in 1748, but the poem was not 
concluded until 1773. Klopstock's 'Odes' are sentimental, but 
marked with sincerity, and show the true characteristics of the 
writer — piety, friendship, and gentleness. After a life of pros- 
perity, cheered with the society of many genial friends, he died at 
Hamburg in 1803. 

Johann Gleim (1793-1803) was rather remarkable as the friend 
of Klopstock than as a poet. He lived, a bachelor, at Halberstadt, 
enjoying a comfortable income, and gathering aromid him a number 
of literary friends, who regarded him as a patron combining in him- 
self the qualities of Anacreon and Mecaenas. His Performances 
in poetry were small. 

Ewald Kleist (1715-1759), who waspatronised by Gleim, wrote 
a descriptive poem on ' Spring,' which soon became populär, though 
it was only one of several imitations of Thomson's 1 Seasons.' 
Jacobi, Schmidt, Götz, and Uz, may be mentioned as fair speci- 
mens of many versifiers of this period who did not rise above me- 
diocrity. Poetiy was regarded by Gleim and his associates as an 
expression of friendship, and other simple pleasures of human life. 
Consequently they addressed to each other a great number of fami- 



liar lyrics and occasional verses ; and they must not bc condemned 
for thus linding in the cultivation of moderate poetical talents a 
source of innocent and social enjoyment : their error consisted in 
Publishing all their light, occasional verses, in which impartial 
readers found monotony and mediocrity. This remark may be 
fairly applied to a great nnmber of the occasional poeras pro- 
duced during this period. As a favourable specimen of such pro- 
ductions, one of the shorter odes of Klopstock may be given 
here : — 


* Welcome, oh, moon, with silver light, 

Silent companion of the night ; 
Friend of my lonely meditations, stay, 
While cloudlets deck thy face, and pass away. 

Still fairer than this summer night 

Is young May-morning, glad and bright, 

When sparkling dew-drops from his tresses flow, 

And all the eastern hüls like roses glow. 

Departed friends ! whose dust is sleeping 
'Neath stones o'er which brown moss is creeping ; 
Oft I enjoyed, in days gone by, with you, 
Night' s solemn calm, and morning's sparkling dew.' 

Anna Luise Karsch (1722-1791) was a poetess, whose verses 
derived their interest partly from the circumstances of her life r 
which were very unfavourable. She was born in poverty, and had 
no advantages of education ; but married unhappily, and lived in 
destitution. Karl Ramler (1725-1798) was a follower of Klop- 
stock, noted chiefly as having introduced with some success the an- 
tique metres of Horace into German poetiy. Christoph Tiedge 
(1752-1841) was celebrated in his day for his didactic poem 
' Urania,' on the immortality of the soul ; but Goethe laughed at 
its formal and abstract style, and it is now almost forgotten. 
Caspar Lavater, who wrote some pious lyrics, was chiefly known 
as an eccentric Pietist and a writer on physiognomy. Heinrich 
Jung (1740-1817) also wrote verses, but became celebrated by the 
autobiography and several religious tales which he wrote under the 
assumed name of Stilling. Many other names of minor poets might 
be added ; but it woiüd be difiicult to find particular marks of 
excellence in their writings. After all the rules and critiques 
which have been written, the estimation of poetry depends so rauch 
upon national and individual tastes, that we can only explain our 
judgment of poetical works by reference to some well-known 
models. Thus if we regard as models of true poetry, according to 
the decision of English taste, such productions as Milton's ' Comus,' 



Goldsmith's 1 Deserted Village,' and Gray's 1 Elegy,' we may fairly 
State tbat few specimens of German poetry can be classed with 
these and similar English poems. 

Perhaps it may be convenient to mention here two writers whose 
poems partly belong to our next period. Daniel Schubart (1739- 
1791) is still remembered, not for the value of Iiis poems, but 
chiefly on account of the misery of Iiis life. He was a school- 
anaster and Organist at Geislingen, but lost Iiis Situation by reck- 
less conduct. He tlien wandered about the country, and gained a 
subsistence as a teaclier of music; but while his own life was badly 
regulated, he indulged his propensity to satirise the conduct of 
others. In England Iiis satires would have excited little attention ; 
but in Germany they were regarded as so dangerous, that the des- 
potic Duke of Würtemberg seized the miserable poet, and impri- 
soned him for ten years ! Düring this confinement his poems were 
published, and derived interest from the hard fate of their author. 
His satires are coarse and worthless ; but there is a populär force 
in some of Iiis verses. The following may serve as a specimen: — 


* And here they lie — these ashcs of proud princes, 
Once clad in proud array. 
Here lie their bones in the melancholy glimmer 
Of the pale dying day. 

And their old coffins from the vault are o-leaminc: 

Like rotten timber, side by side, 
And silver family shields are faintly beaming — 

Their last display of pride ! 

Here vanity, reclining on a bier, 

Looks out from hollow sockets still, 
Quenched are the fiery balls that from these skulls 

Could look and kill. 

Here marble angels weep beside their urns, 

Cold tears of stone for aye — 
The Italian sculptor (smiling all the while) 

Carved out their false array. 

The mighty band is but a mouldering bone 

That once held life and death : 
See that frail breast-bone, heaving once so high 

Bright stars and gold beneath ! 

Oh, wake them not, but let them soundly sleep ; 

For cruel Avas their reign ; 
But scare yon ravens, lest their croakings wake 

Wutherich to life again. 



öl), wake tlicm not — thc scourges of their race — 

Earth has for them no room — 
Soon, soon enough will ovcr them be rattling 

The thunders of their doom ! ' 

Gottfried Bürger (1748-1794) resembled Schubart in bis irre- 
gulär life, but was superior as a writer of ballads. His versi- 
fication was fluent and spirited. The wild and spectral bailad of 
' Leonora ' was rapidly spread ovcr the country, and has been fre- 
quently translated. Such popularity shows the great importance 
of style ; for Burger's poems have no substantial value. He lost 
his property by an unfortunate speculation, and afterwards sup- 
ported hhnself in a very miserable style by writing translations 
for booksellers. In other respects his life was ill-guided and un- 
liappy. As Goethe said of Günther — ' he had no self-control, 
either in life or poetry, but was a creature of circumstances, and 
thus his powers were wasted.' It was a melancholy spectacle 
when his third wife (who had probably shortened his days by harsh 
treatment) travelled about the country after his death, and recited 
Iiis poems to public audiences with affected pathos ! 

Ludwig Holty (1748-1776) wrote plaintive verses in accord- 
ance with the sentimental taste of his time, and so gained a popu- 
larity which has passed away. His poems, like those of Schulze, 
Kirke White, and other consumptives, seem to contain a predic- 
tion of Iiis early death. The brothers Christian and Friedrich 
Stolberg (1748-1821)— (1760-1819), descended from an ancient 
noble family, wrote poems of some merit, but having only the 
fading interest of so many productions of this thne. Martin 
Usteri wrote idyls in the Swiss dialect, and is remembered as the 
author of the well-known song, 1 Freut euch des Lebens ' (' Life 
let us Cherish !') 


Gottsched and his followers deserved some praise, as they drove 
the absurd bombast of Lohenstein from the stage ; but for this 
bombast they substituted pedantry. Johann Elias Schlegel 
(1719-1749), one of Gottsched's disciples, made some improvement 
on the style of his master ; but his comedies, 1 The Idler ' and the 
' Mysterious Man,' as well as his tragedy of 1 Canute,' are dull 
productions. His younger brother, Heinrich Schlegel, translated 
several dramatic pieces from the English, and hitroduccd the 
English dramatic metre of iambic blank verse, instead of the 
clumsy Alexandrine verses which had been usecl in German 
dramas. This change of metre was confirmed by Lessing and 




Schiller. Christian Felix Weisse (1726-1805), prompted by the 

encouragement of Lessing, wrote several comedies and imitations 
of English pieces in such a free and careless style, that the old 
critic Gottsched was enraged by finding all Iiis pedantic maxims 
thus contemned. He even wrote to the civil authorities of 
Dresden, telling them that the public taste was in danger, and re- 
questing them to prohibit the Performance of these new-fashioned 
dramas. For once Gottsched and Bodmer agreed in their opi- 
nions ; for the latter also protested against the dramas of Weisse. 
The comedies which thus excited the indignation of critics of the 
old school were remarkable only as signs of progress toward a 
natural and lively style of writing. The tragedies of the same 
writer hardly rose above the commonplace style which had bcen 
fashionable. The same remark may be applied to the tragedy 
of £ Codrus,' written by Friedrich Cronegk in 1757. 

We now tum from the productions of inferior minds, and find a 
preparation for a new era in literature in the writings of Gotthold 
Ephraim Lessixg (1729-1787), who was equally eminent as a dra- 
matist and a critic. German literature, as we have seen, had long 
required the Services of an accomplished and severe critic, and in 
Lessing it found one who would spare neither friends nor foes in 
his endeavours to maintain a Standard of literary excellence. His 
life was characterised by remarkable activity. He lived at various 
times in Berlin, Leipsic, Breslau, Hamburg, and Wolfenbuttel, and 
was engaged not only in producing original works, but also in cri- 
ticising, candidlyand fearlessly, the writings of his contemporaries. 
The numerous objects upon which his attention was divided pre- 
vented him from bringing to perfection any one great work worthy 
of his abilities. But his acute, philosophical, and severe criticism 
was probably of more importance than any original work. He 
ably exposed the pedantry of Gottsched, the failure of Klopstock 
as an epic poet, the false imitations of the ancient classics which 
had bcen fashionable, the unpoetic fables of Geliert and others, 
and the falsity of that style of descriptive poetry which had at- 
tempted to do with the pen the work of the painter. This last 
error was fully criticised in his 1 Laokoon,' which appeared in 1766. 
His ' Literary Letters ' (1759-1765) produced good effects. He 
maintained a high Standard of poetiy, demanding creative imagina- 
tion from all who would claim the poet's title. His style produced 
a reformation in German prose only second to that effected by 
Luther. The few lyrical pieces which he wrote in youth aie of 
no importance ; it was in the drama that his Services were most 
remarkable. His ' Sara Sampson ' was an attempt to produce on 
the German stage a piece in the English taste ; but his tragedy 
1 Minna von Barnhelm ' was far superior. Its subject was national, 



taken from the liistoiy of the Seven Years 1 War, and its success 
was complete. Another tragedy, 'Emilie Galotti,' presented a 
wonder to the public — a laconic German drama. But, lato in life, 
Lessing appeared to have partly forgotten Iiis own good rules of 
dramatic writing, when he produced a didactic drama entitled 
1 Nathan the Wise ; 1 for in this work the action is suspended for 
the sake of the doctrine of universal religious toleration which 
Nathan hiculcates. This drama, however, has been admired by 
many, chiefly on aecount of its didactic purport, and it certainly 
contains some powerful and excellent writing. It also reminds us 
of a very important change in the tone of German literature from 
the national and Christian character which we find hi Klopstock, 
to the cosmopolitan character which prevails in the writings of 
Goethe, Schiller, and other modern poets. Lessing's writings pro- 
duced in a great measure this transition. 


The prose writers of this period were not numerous and distinet 
enough to admit accurate Classification. Neatness and propriety of 
style were studied, but were not attended by any striking display 
of original genius. 

The writings of Christian Wolf (1679-1759) represent the State 
of philosophy in Germany in the eaiiier part of the eighteenth 
centuiy. At this time liberty of thought was not tolerated in 
Prussia, which was govemed by Frederick- William, a semi-bar- 
barian despot. Wolf, whose ponderous 1 System of Philosophy ' 
was little more than a collection of metaphysical definitions without 
true unity and originality, was accused of holding heterodos views, 
and expelled from his professorship at Halle in the most contu- 
melious style. Frederick treated with contempt all speculations 
which rose above the common necessities of life. He esteemed the 
' Ready Reckoner ' as the masterpiece of science, and maintained 
that all philosophy should be devoted to solve the problem how to 
make a groat serve mstead of a Shilling. In this sort of philosophy 
the king was an adept. We cannot guess to what punishment he 
would have sentenced such a writer as Immanuel Kant. Many 
who have ridiculed the pedantry of Wolf 's philosophical writings, 
have not fairly considered the unfavourable circumstances of the 
times in which he lived. He wrote a treatise on the 1 Law of 
Nature and Nations.' 

Count Zinzendoef (1700-1760) may be noticed here as the 
representative of a class of writers whose works are remarkable 
rather for their religious tendencies than their literary merits. 
Zinzendorf was a bishop of the United Brethren — a sect of Pietists 



wbo established themselves at Hermlmt. Some of the teacliers of 
this society visited England, and their doctrines were received by 
the celebrated John "Wesley, who disseminated them with such 
zeal and activity that they are now spread over a considerable part 
of the world. This fact affords an instance of great results pro- 
duced by obscurc means ; for the Pietistic writings, which had such 
important relations to society, never acquired any distinguished 
position in general literature. Yet their extensive influence may 
be easily explained. They appealed to the hearts of the people, 
in a style which had been long neglected by the established 
churches in Germany and England. In the fourteenth centuiy, 
while the greatest scholars hi the Romish church were engaged hi 
writing on abstruse metaphysical questions, a sect called Mystics 
arose, who simplified doctrmes, and promulgated a religion founded 
011 the affections. The doctrmes of the Pietists substantially 
agree with those of other Protestant sects, and niust not be con- 
founded with the views of the Mystics ; yet it is true that a con- 
nection may be traced between Johaim Tauler, in the fourteenth, 
and Count Zinzendorf m the eighteenth Century. 

The writings of Buffon and other naturalists directed the mincls 
of several German authors of this period to the study of natural 
theology. Albrecht Kaller, who has been noticed as a didactic 
poet, may also be mentioned as the writer of several essays on the 
physical sciences, especially botany and meclicine. The following 
passage is extracted from Haller's preface to a translation of 
Buffon's ' Natural History ' (1750) :— 


* Fashion prevails in the opinions as well as the costumes of man- 
kind, and even nations, like individuals, follow customs of thinking, 
for which they can give no good reasons. Such modes of thought 
are changeable, because they havc no real grcund in nature. Per- 
manence is the singular characteristic of truth. xlbout two hundred 
years have passed away since hypotheses, or imaginative explana- 
tions of nature, were the favourite occupations of iearned men. 
Descartes mvented a mechanism of the universe, ascribing to in- 
visible atoms such figures and motions as suited Iiis arbitrary plan, 
and Europe hailed the theory as a proof of the highest philosophical 
genius. Men began to talk confidently of imaginary elements — 
" vortices " and " spirals " — and regarded it as a triumph of science 
-,vhen some small part of nature could be probably explained by the 
method of Descartes. 

' But the disputes of hypothetical thinkers soon exposed the fal- 
lacies of their Systems. A merc fashion of thinking could not last 
long. Their inventions were like false imitations of the precious 
nietal, which have the glitter, but not the density and durability, of 


gold. A false medium can only find circulation for a sliort time. 
One system-maker can sce the errors of another. The contcntions 
of such theorists, naturally arising from their pridc and ambition, 
were the first mcans of exposing the fallacy of hypothetical philo- 
sophy. A new theorist found an easy road to fame in the refutation 
of some celebrated writer ; as it is easier to point out the inconsis- 
tencies of an old System, than to establish a new and better method. 
A common test may discover coppev, but cannot change it into gold. 
However, rival Systems, after each had enjoyed its day of celebrity, 
passed away, amid the controversies which thcy had excitcd, and 
left only their names behind tliem. Thus the Cartesians ovcrcame 
the Peripatetics, and the Gassendists vanquished the disciples of 
Descartes ; and now the three Systems are all lost in the obscurity 
from which they were once evoked by the poAver of imagination. 

'But we find more direct means of correcting hypothesis in the im- 
provements rccently made in philosophical instruments. Telescopes, 
improved glasses, more accurate Standards of measurement, and 
many other unpretending tools of discovery, have done more for 
philosophy than the method of Aristotle, the creative genius of Des- 
cartes, or the erudition of Gassendi. Armed with such instruments, 
the modern disciples of nature dare to express their contempt of old 
Systems ; for they find that these were mere produetions of imagina- 
tion, like fancy portraits of iEneas, Romulus, and Pharamund. The 
old system-makers attempted to paint the face of nature before thcy 
had lifted her veil. 

' Strict mathematical science has now asserted its sway in Europe, 
and has made us content to creep rather than attempt a lofty 
fiight, which must end in a fall. A severe law has been issued that 
we must believe in nothing less than demonstration, and this law is 
now generally aeeepted in the intellectual world. England submits; 
Boerhaave announces the Submission of Holland ; Germany renounces 
her hypotheses ; and even France, though unwilling to sacrifice the 
reputation won by her philosepher, and to lose the pleasure of a free 
imagination, yields to the necessity of our times. The Academy, as 
represented by Reaumeur, Maupertius, and Clairaut, is performing 
penance for former transgressions in philosophy. 

' But this renunciation of hypothesis may lead to the opposite ex- 
treme. Human nature finds no task more difiicult than that of find- 
ing and preserving the just medium of extremes. Men will change 
total unbelief for superstition, or will leave a life of luxury, and retire 
to the monastery of La Trappe : at one time they will assert their 
liberty in the extreme style of the Pelagian doctrine ; at another 
time they will regard themselves as mere machines moved by neces- 
sity, as the Jansenists say; but how few will observe the middle 
line ! So it is in the study of natural history : from hypothesis we 
are now on our way to seepticism ; and, like the Athenian academy, 
in endeavouring to avoid error, we may end in believing nothing. 
In piain words, to avoid the use of hypothesis (in its proper place), 
and to restrict science to experiments and observations of particular 



facts, is thc present fasliion, which I count araong the numerous 
instanccs of Avant of moderation. . . . This mode of study, I believe, 
■will be as injurious as the old mcthod of resting in hypotkeses. If 
we must limit our science so closcly ; if we must merely perceive 
phenomena, and despair of finding their internal nature ; if we sup- 
pose that truth lies in an abyss far beyond all our researches — what 
will be the consequence? Natural science will be regarded as a 
barren region, and as we shall have no Lope of finding in it the 
wealth 01* the beauty which we desire, we shall refuse to culti- 
vate it.' 

Gottlieb Kabener (1714-1771) was a very mild satirist, who 
declared, with perfect truth, that Iiis writings had never injured the 
character of any individual. They were not likely to do it, for they 
were never personal; and they were hardly able to do it, as they are 
very tarne. His satire was directed against conventional foibles. 
In one instance he had at least a good object in view, which was, to 
expose the tedious and digressive style of some German historical 
books. To do this, he gives a review of an imaginary voluminous 
history of an obscure hamlet called Queiiequitsch. The supposed 
author (a kindred spirit with the P. P. — Parish Clerk, described 
by Pope) begins his book with this sentence : — ' If we carry back 
our researches to the beginning of the world, we shall find that 
it was at first inhabited by only one married couple, named re- 
spectively Adam and Eve.' He then goes on, with insufferable 
tediousness, through the history of the Chaldeans, the Assyrians, 
the Egyptians, the Jews, the Greeks, and the Romans, not for- 
getting the Longobards (but here he runs into a long digression 
on the question whether the name of this people was derived 
from their 'long beards'), and at last he piously expresses Iiis 
thankfulness that he has found his way back to his subject, the 
obscure hamlet of Querlequitsch. 

Goethe, in his recollections of the literature of this time, gives 
a pleasing and very favourable character of Eabener, which ig 
confirmed by some traits hi the writings of the latter. While 
he was engaged in an office mider government, his house was 
burned down in the siege of Dresden in 1760. He displayed 
some good-humour and equanimity by writing the following 
aecount of his losses : — 


'Dresden, August 12, 17G0. 
'I fear that you are beginning to imagine that even my esteem for 
you must have been consumed in the conflagration, as I have de- 
layed so long to write, and make you acquainted with all my mis- 
fortunes. But be assured that, even in the midst of my calamities. 
I have found consolation in knowing that our friendship remains. . . . 



"\Ve have interchanged many pleasant and jocose letters, and now 
I must write one on a gloomy subject [tlie siege] ; yet I have deter- 
mined tliat it sliall not be very nielancholy. To teil the simple truth 
— without claiming any credit as a stoic or a philosopher — I have 
endured my share of calamity, have seen my honse burned to the 
ground, have heard the news of the destruetion of all my property, 
and have not shed a tear. Heaven enabled me thus to bear my 
trouble with tranqnillity 

* On the 19th of last month the conflagration began. My house 
was in great danger on the 14th, and at eight o'clock in the morning 
a grenade feil in the Chamber of my servant ; bnt we contrived to 
qnench the fire which it soon kindled. I then packed up all my pro- 
perty, and deposited it in the cellar and another part of the house 
which I considered tolerably safe, As the danger increased, I left 
my house in the care of my servant (as he was quite Willing to re- 

main there), and paid a visit to my friend D at Neustadt. . . . 

But here I did not escape from the bombardment. The next day 
two twelve-pound balls passed through one of the rooms in my 
friend's house. In the midst of the danger we had some comic 
situations. A grenade destroyed all my wigs, which I had carefully 
brought with me. I had just reeeived the news of this disaster, 
when a good, well-meaning lady, the widow of a clergyman, came 
to me and reminded me that I must bear all inconvenience patiently, 
* because our good King Frederick had a religious inotive in thus 
bombarding our town." 

4 The remark was no doubt well-intended, but so miserably ill- 
timed, just at the moment when my wigs, with all the apparatus 
helonging to them, were burning! What would the good motives 
of the king of Prussia do for my peruke ! However, with two good 
friends I retired to a quiet apartment, and we endeavoured to spend 
the time as pleasantly as was possible. In the afternoon of the 
19th, the church, the town-hall, and my dwelhng, were wrapt in 
flames. I went to the front of the Government House, and there 
looked on the desolation which was spreading. After a short time, 
my servant came and informed me that my house was burned down, 
that part of my property had been destroyed by bombshells, and 
that the remaining portion (in the cellar) had been plundered by 
the soldiers who had been sent to quench the fire. Sad news ! All 
my property, furniture, clothing, books, manuscripts — all the plea- 
sant letters from yourself and other friends which I had preserved so 
carefully — all destroyed ! Of property worth, as I counted it, some 
three thousand dollars, scarcely the value of ten dollars remaining ! 
My wardrobe is thus suddenly reduced to an old stuff frock and 
an obsolete peruke (which I had put on when I went to quench the 
fire in my servant's room) — item, a bedgown ! All my witty manu- 
scripts, which, as I once expected, would make such a Sensation 
after my decease — all turned to smoke ! Eeally, I have now (as an 
author) no motive for dying, and shall therefore live as long and as 
well as I can ! ' 



Christian Gellert (1715-1769) cnjoyed in Iiis day a grcat 
share of public esteem on account of his didactic writings. After 
being educated in theology, he was professor of philosophy at 
Leipsic, where he read lectures on poetry, rhetoric, and ethics, 
to large and admiring audiences. He wrote moral essays and 
sketclies of character in a pleasing style, but without any reraark- 
able originality. We raay observe here that Geliert and several 
other prose writers of this period are perfectly free from the 
mysticism found in later German authors. Geliert also wrote 
many fahles in verse. His personal character must have con- 
tributed a considerable share to his wide reputation, for he was 
honoured by all classes while living, and his death was generally 
deplored. The following is a specimen of Iiis piain and sober 


'Erast, whose natural disposition is quiet and retiring, lives for 
himself, and manages Iiis property economically, so as to be always 
free from anxiety. He has no family, no household eares, and as 
he does not like trouble, it is only fair to add that he gives trouble 
to nobody. For ten years he has lived in such a uniform style, that 
you can hardly distinguish one day of his existence from another. 
He rises punctually at eight o'clock. Breakfast, a newspaper, and 
gazing out of his window, serve as pastimes until ten o'clock reminds 
Iura that he must attend to business. This, however, is soon done, 
for it consists in merely entering an account of yesterday's expenses 
in his day-book« Then writing a letter, if politeness demands it, 
skimming over the pages of a new novel just sent from the library, 
and perhaps a tune on the harpsichord, furnish all the employmenfc 
required to fill the interval betAveen business and dressing for dinner. 
He dines comfortably, and enjoys a glass or two of good wine, but 
it is ten years since he indulged beyond moderation. After dinner, 
billiards claim one hour, and a visit, either paid or received, occupies 
another. Then comes the afternoon nap on the couch, by which he is 
sufficiently refreshed to endure one hour's light reading beside the 
coffee table. A constitutional walk now employs his faculties, if the 
sky is quite favourable. This pleasantly introduces supper, and this 
again prepares him for bed, to which he retires every evening at 
ten o'clock precisely. No wonder that Erast has a good character 
for quietness and sobriety ! »Something more may be added to the 
credit-side of his account. He is a perfectly harmless neighbour, 
who never gives himself the trouble to slander anybody. He pays 
his debts, and lives, indeed, as well as any man can live merely for 
himself. But is this convenient mode of life attended wdth true 
internal contentment ? Can Erast believe that he was sent into the 
world to live thus? What in the world is he, with all his virtuos, 
more than a neat piece of useless furniture? When he refiects 
(and he can hardly avoid the trouble of reflection now and then), 



docs not his conscicnce sometimcs rcprovc Iiis scnsuous mode of 
existence? Has he no fear that society, for which lie does nothing, 
will despise him? Is there no secret shame attending the rccol- 
lection of some forty or fifty years passed away for ever in doiug 

The criticism of ancient classical poetry, which Lessing revived 
in this period, was preceded by the criticism of ancient sciüpture. 
Of this style of writing Johann Winkelmann, born hi 1717, was 
the originator. After receiving a classical education, and ful- 
filling the duties of several scholastic offices, he devoted himself 
with enthnsiasm to the study of antique sciüpture, and wrote 
eloquent dissertations on the grace, majesty, and beauty which he 
found in the works of ancient art. Having entered the Romißh 
church, he was taken under the patronage of the Pope, and 
passed some years in Home and other parts of Italy. His work 
entitled ' Thoughts on the Imitation of Grecian Works of Art ' 
was produced in 1755. After a visit to Vienna, he was retuming 
to Italy, when he was murdered by an Italian, his fellow-travelleiv 
in 1768. His writings display true enthusiasm and a refined 
taste ; and it may be said that the school of art-criticism in 
Germany owes its origin to the studies of Winkelmann. 

The writings of Winkelmann produced that love of research 
among the treasures of classical antiquity which has been so fruit- 
ful in Germany, and is likely to be stül more fruitful in good 
consequences. The faults of learning and literature in Germany 
require to be corrected by that example of a genial cultivation of 
art and literature which can be found only in ancient Greece. In 
many respects these two countries form a contrast, and especially 
in their intellectual culture. Grecian literature was a literature 
of life : it was inthnately blended with the life, the progress, the 
actual interests of the people. Poets sung, and historians wrote, 
as sculptors and painters worked, not for a few students, but for the 
highest gratification of the whole people. Even the highest philo - 
sophy, such as was expounded by Plato, was not purely abstract ; 
but was interwoven with human sympathies and social interests. 
The physical and the intellectual powers of human nature were har- 
moniously cultivated. The man, in his füll and complete definition, 
was not sacrificed in order to make a poet, or a musician, or an 
historian; but, on the other side, poetry, phüosophy, history, and 
all the fine arts, were employed to produce the most complete and 
beautiful development of human nature. This was the ahn which 
prevailed through the whole of Grecian culture ; and there cannot 
be a nobler object than to restore such a purpose to modern culti- 
vation. But, as a contrast to the native literature of ancient Greece, 
modern Germany is a storehouse containing the erudition of all 


countries and all ages ; and a vast portion of this book-world may 
be saidto belong rather to the literature for studies, museums, and 
libraries, than to the literature of life. Through a long period, 
Germany was noted for that corruption of learning, or general intel- 
lectual culture, that arbitrary and barren Separation of thought 
from real life, which is styled pedantry. It is therefore a remark- 
able and a hopeful sign of modern days which we find in the 
Grecian enthusiasm manifested in the works of Müller, Jacobs, 
and other writers ; and we may even hope that the Germans will 
proceed beyond disquisitions on the excellence of Grecian lite- 
rature and art, to genial imitation, or rather emulation. Whatever 
success may attend their progress in this direction, it will be re- 
membered that Winkelmann pointed out the way. The following 
passages may at least indicate the tone of Iiis writings : — 


* The study of Grecian art is as rieh and various as that of Grecian 
literature ; for in the forms which the ancieut Greeks gave to their 
marbles, we find the same pliability and variety of genius which is 
manifested in their literature. When we inquire regarding the 
causes which contributed to produce the excellence of Grecian 
works of art, we shall easily find several ; but the following may be 
esteemed as the most important :— (1) The infiuence of a fine cli- 
mate; (2), the mode of government ; and, (3), the connection of art 
with public festivals and religious ceremonies. 

' In the first place, we must ascribe some part of the cheerful 
Development of life and genius among the Greeks to the infiuence 
of a beautiful clime. Greece appears to have been a land elected 
by Heaven for the unfolding of beauty : its geographical Situation 
and its temperature were favourable to this purpose. Though it 
did not enjoy a perpetual spring (for we read that snow feil so 
thickly in Sparta once, on the eve of an insurrection, that the people 
coidd not leave their houses), yet its general character was favour- 
able to the life in the open air, and the public games and festi- 
vals in which the people delighted Next to the infiuence 

of clhnate, we must consider, as another cause (but still united with 
the former), the cheerful and benevolent disposition of the people. 
Of this history supplies many proofs. One poet teils us that the 
sympathetic disposition of the Athenians was noted. Outcasts and 
refugees from other countries found in Athens an asylum, as we 
may observe even in the early times of the war between the Argives 
and the Thebans. The joyous Athenian spirit produced theatrical 
and other amusements, u to preserve life from the infiuence of dul- 
ness and melancholy," as Pericles says. Of the benevolent spirit of 
the Athenians we find a striking proof when we contrast their public 
games with the sanguinary spectacles of gladiators and wild beasts 
fighting together in the amphitheatres of Korne. The Grecians, in 



tlieir best days, turned away with liorror from sucli exhibitions 
of cruelty. When, in the times of the emperors, a gladiatorial 
spectacle was appointed to be given at Corinth, the Greeks said, 
" Wc must throw down our altars sacred to pity before we can find 
amusement in such a spectacle." But under the influence of Korne, 
this spirit of humanity was debased, and at last a fight of gladiators 

was presented at Athens 

' The free government of Athens was the nurse of genius and art. 
Even in the old times of the kings, before the Greeks aspired to self- 
government, we raay believe that a considerable degree of freedoni 
was enjoyed under monarehy. Homer indicates the mild and pa- 
ternal rule of Agamemnon by styling him "the shepherd of the 
people." Though tyrants arose in some states, the whole Hellenic 
nation was never under the sway of any one despot. Until the con- 
quest of the island of Naxos by the Athenians, no city was subject to 
another — each enjoyed its own institutions. The Athenians were 
jealous of everything like a monopolising of greatness and honour. 
Their institutions encouraged all to strive toward that nobility which 
genius, wisdom, and virtue could claim; and their works of art 
were the results of the same free spirit of emulation. A statue 
might be erected in one of their public places to commemorate the 
beauty, the swiftness, or the physical strength of any individual, 
though he had arisen from the lowest rank. Parents might erect 
statues of their children in the temples : of this we find an instance 
in the mother of Agathocles. The honour of a statue in Athens was, 
indeed, almost as common as a mere title or a badge, such as a cross 
to be worn on the breast, in our own times. When the poet Pindar 
alluded to the renown of the Athenians, though it w r as only in a few 
words in one of Iiis odes, the men of Athens did not express their 
pleasure and gratitude in mere words, aecording to our modern 
style, but erected a noble statue of the poet in front of the temple 
of Mars 

* The earliest Greeks esteemed every beautiful development of the 
powers of human nature long before they discovered the value of 
erudition, or the cultivation of the abstract intellect ; and, aecord- 
ingly, the most ancient sculptures were produced in honour of phy- 
sical or athletic qualities. Thus we read an aecount of a statue of 
Eutelides, a Spartan wrestler, which w 7 as erected at Elis, in the 3Sth 
Olympiad, and probably this was not the first statue made for such a 
purpose. In the inferior public games, as at Megara, a stone in- 
scribed with the victor's name was used instead of a statue. Great 
was the honour of success in these public athletic exercises ; for the 
earlier Greeks had no thought of that neglect and degradation of the 
physical powers which belongs to modern times. Bodily excellence, 
as well as intellectual power, often gained for its possessor the 
honour which art could bestow, and even the appellation " divine." 
Men of genius endeavoured to win the palm in athletic exercises. 
Thus Chrysippus and Cleanthes were well known as victorious ath- 
letes before they became renowned as philosophers. The profound 



and eloquent Plate- appeared among the wrestlers in the Isthmiar* 
games at Corinth, and also in the Pythian games at Sicyon. Even 
the meditative Pythagoras gained a prize at Elis, and gave instruc- 
tions for athletic training to Eurymenes, who afterwarda gained a 
prize at the same place. 

' The statue of a victor, crected in some sacred or public place, 
and admired by the whole nation, was a powerful Stimulus to the 
ambition of the athlete and the sculptor. 80 great was the honour 
of an Olympian victor, that his native city was regarded as par- 
tieipating in his renown : he was supported by the public, and 
when he died, reeeived the homage of the pcople in a public 

burial Euthymus of Locri in Italy, who had, with only one 

exception, becn regularly the victor at Elis, was not only honoured 
with a statue, but, by the conimand of an oracle, even during the 

lifetime of the victor, homage was paid to the statue The 

moral virtues, however, werc not forgotten in the midst of this 
enthusiastic admiration of physical power and beauty. Statues were 
erected to preserve the memory of worthy Citizens. Dionysius teils 
us of the statue of a good Citizen at Cuina in Italy, which was- 
thrown down and otherwise dishonoured by the tyrant Aristodemus. 
.... The way to honour was open to all who possessed superior 
powers of mind or body. The philosopher, or the wisest man in a 
towii, was honoured as we now esteem the riebest man — the million- 
aire. And various faculties of a superior order might be harmo- 
niously developed by one individual ; for the restriction of the mind 
to one province or department of intellect or art, which we find so- 
commonly among modern painters and musiciaus, was not thought 
necessary by the Greeks. A sculptor might be a moral philosopher, 
or, like other Citizens, might rise to command the anny of a State. 
Thus, in later times, the Emperor Marcus Aurelius acknowledges 
that he reeeived some lessons in moral philosophy from Diognetus 

the painter One great consequence of the gencral appreciation 

of beauty among the Greeks, was that the artist was not condemned 
to work to gratify the pride, vanity, or caprice of any one noble 
patron ; but was supported and encouraged in the efforts of genius 
by the general voice of the people. And this people was not a rude, 
untaught demoeraey, but was under the direction of the wisest 
minds. The honours which were awarded by public assemblies ta 
competitors in art were generally fairly and intelligently distributed. 
In the time of Phidias, there was at Corinth, as also at Delphos, a 
public exhibition of paintings, over which the most competent judges 
presided. Here Panaenus, the relative of Phidias, contended for a 
prize with Timagoras of Chalcis, when the latter proved victorious. 
Before such competent adjudicators Aetion produced his painting of 
" Alexander's Marriage with Eoxane," and Proxenides, the judge 
who pronounced the decision, was so well pleased with the work, 
that he gave his daughter to be married to the painter. Universal 
fame did not unfairly prevail over rising merit. At Samos, in the 
painting of the " Weapons of Acliilles," the renowned Parrhasius 



failed to win the prize, whidb was carried away by thc comparativeiy 
obscure artist Timantlies 

' Artists laboured not mcrely to gain tlio applause of thoir contem- 
poraries, but also for immortal renown ; and tlio immediate reward 
gained by some of their works was so amplc, that they could afibrd 
to perform others gratuitously, to win honour, or to glorify their 
native land. Thus Polygnotus painted the Poecile at Athens, and 
also decorated a public building at Delphos with scenes taken from 
the siege of Troy. As an acknowlcdgment of bis Services ixt the 
lattcr instance, the Aniphictyonic Council decreed that this artist 
should be gratuitously entertained in every town throughout Greece. 

Honour and fame, indeed, attended every artist who rose to 

excellence in bis department. Even in thc present day, we know 
the name of the architect who built an aqueduet in the island of 
Samos, and of a shipwright who built the largest ship for the same 
island. The name of a stone-mason, Architelcs, renowned for bis 
skill in hewing columns, has been also preserved, with the names of 
two excellent weavers who wove a mantle for Pallas at Athens, a 
mechanic named Parthenius, who made true balances, a saddler who 
copied the shield of Ajax in leather, and even a certain " Peron," 
who had the art of compounding very fragrant ointments. Thus all 
useful and elegant work, displaying taste and genius, gained honour 
among the Greeks 

' But art was chiefly devoted to its highest objects — the exposition 
of religious ideas, or of the nobler developments of human life — and 
did not stoop to make trivial playthings, or to furnish the private 
houses of rieh men with ostentatious luxuries. The rieh Citizens in 
the best days of Athens lived in houses modestly and sparingly fur- 
nished, while they subscribed munificently to raise costly and beau- 
tiful statues in the public temples. Miltiades, Themistocles, Aris- 
tides, and Cimon, the chieftains and deliverers of their country, did 
not distinguish themselves from their fellow-citizens by dwelling 
in grand and expensive houses. Thus the wealth which was saved 
by the modesty of private life may partly aecount for the munificent 
patronagc of genius.' 

A few years aftenvards, Lessing, displeased with the tasteless 
and commonplace produetions wdiich the good - natured public 
reeeived as poetiy, applied himself to discover the true and 
rational rules by which poetry, and especially dramatic produe- 
tions, might be judged. He thought that mere unartistic decla- 
mations and descriptions in verse had been too long reeeived with 
toleration under the name of poetry. In bis ' Laokoon ' he ex- 
posed the error of confounding the distinet provinces of the sister 
arts — Poetry and Painting. From this work we extract the 
following passage : — 


' These sister arts differ with regard to the materials which they 



must cmploy to produce thcir distinct effects. Poetry narrates 
events in a successive order : painting describes co-existent objects. 
The former (in its primitive State, whexi it was recited, not written) 
cmploycd tones of the voice, which passed away in succession : the 
latter used permanent marks and colours. Painting imitates sta- 
tionary bodies and hnes : poetry describes movements or events. 
Objects exist in space and time. Any moment may produce a 
cliange in them. But every momentary transition is the effect of a 
prcvious condition, and may also be the cause of another effect. 
Consequently painting may indicate actions. To do this, the painter, 
whose picture is to be limited by one moment of time, must choose 
that point of an action which is most fruitful in suggestions of a pre- 
ceding action and a consequent result. In this way painting may be 
said to teil a story, and thus to resemble poetry. And, on the other 
side, as the actions narrated in poetry are dependent on bodies, the 
poet must touch on the province of the painter when he mentions 
these bodies, and applies to them descriptive epithets. But still it is 
clearly unartistic when the poet attempts to do that which could be 
far more effectually done by the painter. Though the provinces of 
these two artists meet, they must not be confounded. Poetry must 
keep in view its own peculiar nature ; and, in order to indicate the 
nature of objects without impeding action by description, must 
employ brief and graphic epithets. 

' I should have no firm faith in this theory, if I did not find it 
fully confirmed by the practice of Homer. But whoever will study 
the subject, will find how faithful the great epic poet was to bis 
object — narration. We shall find in the " Iliad " the best illustrations 
of the distinction which I have explained, and which is so often 
overlooked by modern versifiers, who attempt to do the work of the 
brush with a pen. Homer relates progressive events, describing 
objects, here and therc, as they were implicated in events ; and this 
he docs, generally, in the shortest way, by the use of Single epithets. 
For instance, a ship, in Homer's style, is generally mentioned as " the 
black ship " or " the hollow ship," or, even in Iiis ampler style, as 
" the well-rowed black ship.'' Of the ship as a stationary object he 
says no more ; while of an action connected with a ship, such as 
rowing, embarking, or landing, he gives you an account so füll, that 
if a painter would portray the whole of it, he must divide it into five 
or six pictures. When Homer thinks it proper to give considerable 
attention to an object, he contrives, with true taste, to unite descrip- 
tion and action. We have an example of this process in the account 
given of Juno's chariot. The poet introduces us to the making of 
that vehicle: we see the wheels, the axle, the pole, traces, and 
reins, in the process of being arranged together by the goddess 
Hebe. "When the poet would give us a notion of the dress of Aga- 
memnon, he makes the king clothe himself, putting on one garment 
after another ; and when he is in füll array, he grasps his sceptre. 
How is this sceptre described ? Does Homer try to paint, in words, 
its golden studs and carved head ? N o ; but he gives the history of 



the sceptre, and teils us how it carae from tlie Workshop of Vulcan, 
how it was honoured in the grasp of Jove, and then how it was 
passed, by Mercury and Pelops, into the hand of the peaccable King 

Among the few writers who meddled with politieal topics in this 
period, Karl von Moser (1723-1798) may be noticed. He wrote 
in a free and patriotic spirit, but in a provincial and inelegant style. 
Karl Friedrich, Grand-Duke of Baden (1728-1811), may be men- 
tioned here, because the slight specimen which we have of his lite- 
rary ability displays, in a very amiable light, his character as a ruler. 
This is an ' Address ' to his subjects, which he circulated aniong 
the people of Baden in 1783 — a document füll of just and noble 
sentiments, and which may still be seen, suspended in a frame on 
the walls of many village taverns in Baden, where the memory of 
' the good duke ' is still cherished. The sentiments of piety, jus- 
tice, and kindness contained in this address were not mere senti- 
ments. Karl Friedrich relieved his people from the burthen of 
public debt, abolished the feudal System of bondage and the des- 
potic mode of trial by torture, protected the poor, and advanced 
education. Here we may notice, as a literary man who was re- 
garded also as a public benefactor, Johann Busch (1728-1800), a 
teacher of mathematics at Hamburg. In this place he introduced 
fire - insurance (which Hamburg has, since then, so remarkably 
required), private hospitals, and great improvements in the super- 
vision of the poor. He was a man of a practical and utilitarian 
character, and wrote some works on the interests of trade and the 
circulation of money. Helfrich Stürz (1736-1779) was a politi- 
cian and a moralist. After visiting the English court, in an em- 
bassy, he wrote in London a very favourable description of the 
character of George IH. His other writings show some good 
taste and humour. 

Johann Zimmermann (1728-1793), the court physician in Ha- 
nover, was an eccentric man, who wrote a meditative book on 1 Soli- 
tude,' which gained an extensive popularity, and was translated into 
several languages. Salomon Gessner (1730-1786) might have 
been named in the ' Curiosities of Literature ; ' for, with slight 
talent, he gained a European celebrity. His ' Death of Abel, 7 
a feeble imitation of Klopstock's manner, may still be found in 
some old-fashioned English book-cases. It may be added, as 
something to Gessner's credit, that he knew more of landscape- 
painting than of poetry. The following extract is taken from 
one of Gessner's essays ; — 


*If Heaven would fulfil the wish so long cherished in my heart, I 
would escape into the country, far away from the snares and the 



artificial fasliions of towns. You should find me hidden from the 
world, and contented, in a littlo cottage embowered among hazels 
and other trces, with a trellised vine in tho front, and a cool spring 
bubbling near my door. On tlie little grass-plot my doves would 
often alight and please me with their graceful movements, or receive 
from my band the crumbs lcft at my table. Tbere cbanticleer too 
should proudly strut at the head of bis family. And in a sheltered 
corner I would bavc my bives of bees, that the swectness of my 
flowers might be treasurcd up, and that I might be often remindcd 
that even in solitude I must be industrious. Behind the cottage you 
should find mygardcn for fruit and flowers, surrounded with a hedge 
of hazels, and with a bower at each corner. Here I would employ 
art, not to cut nature into grotesque forms, but gently to co-operate 
with her workings, and to unfold her beauty. Here would be my 
place in pleasant weather, where I could enjoy alternately exercise 
and meditation. Then imagine a little green pasture near the garden, 
and a gentle rill flowing besiue my plantation, and spreading at ono 
point in its coursc into a miniaturc lake, having an island and a 
pleasant bower in the middle ; and add to this rural inventory a 
little vineyard, and ono little field of yellow corn ; and then what 
king would be richer than I ? . . . . But even in the country I must 
have a care of my neighbours. Far from my dwelling be the 
«ountry-house of the talkative Borantcs ! If near, he would surely 
«ome every morning to teil me that "France was (or was not) about 
toproclaim war;" or would describe at füll length "all that Mr Mops 
tt-ould do if he was the king of England;'' then he would stay some- 
iimes to dine with me, and would spoil my dishes by talking of " all 
tlie corruptions of all the courts of Germany." And at an equal dis- 
tance would I dwell from Orontes, who has chosen a country-house 
chiefly because it has a good wine-cellar, where he stores bis choicest 
beauties of nature — Moselle, Hock, and Champagne. Orontes admires 
the country becauso it abounds with game. The air is delightful, for 
dclicate tit-bits fly about in it : the woods are sublime, for they har- 
bour fine phcasants; and the rivers are beautiful, if they contain 
trout. Orontes docs not retirc to bis country-seat to enjoy solitude 
and meditation. A day without Company would be for bim a pen- 
ance. He loves to see the few congenial guests who come frcquently 

to praise and drink his wines, and converse on low topics In 

preference to having a seat at his table, I would walk beside the 
ploughman, or listen to the reapers' evening song ; or visit the grape- 
gatherers, and see thembringing home the ripe Clusters with singiug; 
or I would take a part in the merry-making at " harvest-home," and 
hear honest Hans telling bis old story how " he once went on a long 
journcy into Swabia, and saw private houses larger than the village 
ehurch, and a carriage with glass windoM'S drawn by six horses." 
In rainy or wintry weather I would dwell in my study, not in soli- 
tude, but in the best society, snrrounded by the great spirits who 
have left their wisdom in books. Here I would learn the lore of 
many nations, would read of the wonders of nature in distant lands, 



endeavour to tracc the proccsscs of nature, and study the history of 

Caspar Lavater (1741-1793) was an eccentric but well- 
meaning man, and the author of a once celebrated work on 
1 Physiognomy.' He was a firm believer in Iiis own rules for read- 
ing characters on faces, and had remarkable success in discovering 
the qualities of public men, authors, and othcrs, whom he knew 
veiy well. His contemporary, the humorist Lichtenberg, said, 
1 Lavater can see more in the noses of some writers than the public 
can find in their books.' Lavater was also noted as a sincere 
Pietist, a zealous preacher, and an enthusiastic patriot. In the 
autumn of 1793, at Zürich, he was engaged in reproving the dis- 
orderly conduct of some soldiers in the street, when he was shot 
by a French grenadier. His ' Physiognomy ' produced many stu- 
dents of a supposed new science. The following elaborate recipe 
may show that he sometimes took care to guard Iiis rules with 
numerous qualifications : — 


' A forehead almost without wrinkles, not perpendicular, and not 
far-retreating, not very flat, and not rotund, but rather shaped like 
the convex side of a dish; eyebrows thick, neatly bordering the 
brow, and shading eyes a little more than half opened, but not fully 
opened ; a moderate depression between the forehead, and a well- 
arched, broad-backed nose ; lips distinctly curved, not open, and not 
tightly shut, neither very small nor large, but well-proportioned ; a 
chin neither very prominent nor far-retreating : these are the signs 
which, when found in one face, most certainly denote a ripe under- 
standing and a manly character.' 

George Lichtenberg (1742-1799) produced a series of jocose 
physiognomical observations, as a caricature on Lavater's book. 
He visited London, and became acquainted with Solander, Sir 
Joseph Banks, and other scientific men. Here, too, he studied, 
with admiration, the works of our satirical painter Hogarth, and 
afterwards wrote a commentary upon them. But Lichtenberg^ 
chief studies were scientific, and his writings are only fragments, 
marked by some points of epigrammatic humour. ' Books,' said 
he, 1 are singular commodities. They have always been printed, 
bound, bought, reviewed, and read by people who do not under- 
stand them, and now they are even written by men who do not 
know their own meaning. , The following are a few of Lichten- 
berg's aphorisms : — 


' If this science were as absolute as Lavater would make it, \ve 
might punish misdemeanours prospectively ; or in a despotic country 




thcro might be an annual physiognomical A uto da Fe I once 

lived in a houso where one of the Windows looked into a dark lane, 
running from one public strcct to another. Here I noticed that 
passengers, on stepping out of the public strect into tlie dusky little 
thoroughfare, suddenly cfaanged their expressions of countenance. 
The man who had worn a gay smile in the street would look grave 
as he entercd the lane and, vice versa, a solemn tradesman would 
indulge in a sly smile, as if he had just made some cunning bargain. 
Here was a puzzle for Lavater. Would he trust the street face or 
the lane face ? . . . . There are some signs quite as good as any marks 
in the face ; for instance, I would not trust a man who attempts to 

confirm his assertions by laying his right band over bis heart 

There are many people who would be perfectly happy if they would 
bestow as little thought on the duties and the failiugs of other people 

as they do upon their own We often ascribe our knowledge to 

wrong causes : when we know that a man is blind, we may imagine 

that we discover it even when we walk behind bim An hour- 

glass is a good monitor, reminding us at once of the flight of time, 
and of the dust into which we must fall.' 


' There is a class of books (of which we have great numbers in 
Germany) which possess an insidious and gradual soporific tendency. 
At first sight, they may not appear absolutely unreadable ; nor have 
they that sudden and irresistible power of inducing sleep which is 
found in some literary morphiates; but if you persist in reading 
them, they slowly, but surely, produce that heaviness which is feit in 
very sultry weather, and in the dull calm preceding a thunder-storm. 
This dulness is evidently contagious, for, after reading a book of this 
class, if you attempt to write, you will find your own style drowsy ; or 
if you read a good author, even his pages will seem sleepy. In such 
a case I have generally found it expedient to take a strong cup of 
coflfee, or perhaps a pipe of tobacco. . . . How sound is the judgment 
of the public when we have written a successful book ! When we have 
failed, what does the public know of literary matters ? . . . Many read, 

merely to avoid the trouble of thinking If any one would be 

convinced of the influence of little external things, let him endeavour 
to write a series of fine sentiments, in a fluent style, with a spirting 
pen, or one that Scratches the paper. It will certainly be a failure.' 

Christian Garve (1742-1798) was a man of amiable character, 
remarkable for the patience with which he endured a long and 
most painful affliction, and also for the grace and cleamess of style 
found in his essays. Even Goethe perhaps leamed something 
from his style, which he compared with ' a clear refreshing stream.' 
Garve translated Cicero's ' Offices,' and wrote a pleasant essay on 
' The Scenery of Mountainous Countries.' From another of his 
essays we extract the following short argument : — 




* The greatest encouragement to intellectual progress arises from 
our belief in one supreme fountain of Wisdom, toward which we may 
continually advauce, while, as we revercntly appfoach that source of 
mental light, the obscurities lianging about our present defective 
vision will gradually pass away. Without such a faith, I must look 
upon the world from a melancholy point of view. I behold around 
me a vast universe crowded with innumerable objects of interest, all 
possessing powers and qualities of which myself and my fellow-crea- 
tures can only understand a minute part. Is there not a Supreme 
Mind which comprehends the whole more perfectly than we under- 
stand even the minutest portion of it ? If I doubt this, how hopeless 
must appear my efforts toward intellectual satisfaction ! For how 
can I, in my short life, hope to gain, by the slow process of experi- 
mental inquiry, a knowledge of this vast world around me, or to an- 
swer the deepest questions which my own rational nature suggests ? 
If myself, and other finite creatures like myself, are the only in- 
tellectual beings, how little can we ever know of ourselves and of 
the universe ! 

' Is it not more cheering to believe that the rays of light in our own 
minds all descend from one central Sun, than to imagine that our 
finite minds are the only illumined spots amid a wide creation left in 
darkness ? Thought, or intelligence, is the light, the sun of the uni- 
verse. But when we are told that this light of intellect exists only 
in a few finite creatures upon this earth, what a gloomy Suggestion 
is presented to our minds ! We must now look on the infinitely 
greater part of creation as destined to remain in darkness — never to 
be understood ! We see the world almost entirely buried in night, 
though here and there a little space is feebly illumined by a small 
lamp, which burns only long enough to communicate its glimmer to 
another lamp of a similar small capacity. If this picture of the 
world were true, what proportion would there be between the 
massive and innumerable objects of material nature, and the few 
intellectual beings called mankind ? In such a case how could we 
reasonably hope for the victory of the intellectual over the mate- 
rial world ? Let us turn our view on the other side. Let us believe 
in one supreme and omniscient Mind surveying and comprehending 
the whole of nature. Let us believe that, as our feeble corporeal 
frames are surrounded and supported by a vast material world, so 
our finite minds are under the sway of an infinite Intellectual Power. 
We shall now see a just proportion between mind and matter. The 
world now becomes a noble object of unceasing study. The attain- 
ment of truth appears at least possible ; and there will now be faith 
and hope in our endeavours to promote the dominion of the intellect 
over the material world.' 

Isaac Iselin, the author of a 1 History of Mankind, 1 deserves 
to be nunibered among the writers of clear and good prose during 



this period. Iiis book merits more commendation than cau be 
given to some recent works of greater pretcnsion on the same 
•subject. In the following few sentences he gives an explanation 
of the rapid decay of prosperity in ancient Greece and Rome : — 

' The short duration of the fiourishing periods of Grecian and 
Roman history deserves particular attention. How shall we ex- 
plain the fact, that the great virtuos which excitcd admiration in the 
nations of antiquity, spcedily decayed, and left bohind them few good 
results ? Or how could the nations which had been elevated by 
those virtues fall so rapidly and so deeply in political and moral 
degradation ? I believe that the true reason of their fall may be 
found in the fact, that their virtues were in a great measure arbi- 
trary and conventional, ratlier than universal and permanent. Fa- 
triotic and enthusiastic impulses endeavoured in vain to supply the 
want of enlightened reason and noble principles of humanity. Uni- 
versal justice seldom guided the conduct of the heroes of antiquity. 
They knew little of the noble desire to extend happiness to the 
greatest possible number of mankind ; or of the principle of respect 
due to all human beings without regard to national peculiarities and 

Dr Johann Jacob Mascou wrote a 1 History of the German 
Nation to the Close of the Merovingian Dynasty,' which was 
published in 1757. 

Justus Moser (1720-1794) wrote short essays and tales devoted 
lo utilitarian purposes. He was a decicled enemy of all the 
French fashions which were gaining ground in bis time, hat cd tlie 
phrase ä-la-mode, and recommended all old German virtues. The 
outline of one of bis stories will give the purport of all his writ- 
ings. Sehnde, the heroine, was an industrious German maiden, 
educated in the ancient homely fashion. Her evenings were 
passed in the spinning-room, where all her father's family and 
servants were assembled, and constant occupation left no room 
for such a word as cnnui. But a young neighbour, Arist, who 
pays his addresses to Sehnde, is an admirer of refinement and 
foshion, and loves to indulge in ridicule against the antiquated 
spinning-room. He marries Sehnde, and improves her taste. 
The young couple become very fashionable, neglect the concems 
of their household, and endeavour to amuse themselves with 
meaningless trifles. But time passes now more tediously than in 
the spinning-room. Arist sees that his wife is imhappy, though 
she will not confess it. At last he confesses that there is more 
happiness in useful occupation than in frivolity. Sehnde hears 
this confession with delight : the spinnmg-room is restored ; and 
the old style triumphs over the new. 

Johann Musaeus (1735-1787) was another writer of short and 


humorous tales, for which he found abundant materials in tlie 
populär lcgends of Iiis coimtry. He would sit besidc an old 
dame's spinning-wheel, or entertain old soldiers in his house, in 
order to gain an acquaintance with fragmentary traditions. These 
materials he treated in a lively and humorous style, mixing traits 
of nature and real life with supernatural adventurcs. One of the 
chief heroes of his stories was* Rübezahl, the eccentric but good- 
humoured gohlin of the Hartz Mountains, who often left his sub- 
terraneous abode to do some kindness to poor people. The 
fanciful and humorous tales of Musaeus have preserved their 
interest to the present day. 

Johann Heinrich Jung (1740-1817) wrote, under theassumed' 
name of Stilling, many tales, chiefly of a religious charaeter. His« 
autobiography, which is substantially true, though written in the 
style of a novel, is very interesting, and displays well the charaeter 
of the author, which was marked by eamestness, piety, and a 
visionary tendency. After enduring great misery as a private 
tutor, Stilling rescued himself from a condition of poverty and 
dependence. He studied medicine, and soon became celebrated 
for Iiis numerous successful Operations for cataract. His autobio- 
graphy has been translated into English. The following extract 
gives a curious instance of the love of abstruse studies among 
people in very hiunble life. It must be premised, that one of old 
Stilling's sons married Dortchen, the daughter of a village pastor^ 
who was reduced to poverty by his devotion to unprofitable 
studies : — 

VA IX studies. 

1 Johann Stilling (the son) sometimes paid a visit to Iiis parents 
and sisters at Tiefenbach. The whole family regarded it as a festive 
occasion when he came, and every peasant in the village looked 
upon him with reverence ; for he was believed to be a very great 
man. It was remembered that, even when a boy, he had made an 
astrolabe out of a wooden platter, and had turned a butter stamp 
into a mariner's compass. He had also been seen standing on a hill 
and making geometrical observations. Yet Johann, with all Iiis 
faculties of invention, had remained very poor ; and Iiis wife often 
■vvished that he would apply Iiis genius to eartlily things, to make his 
ficld and his garden more produetive, that so she might have more 
bread. But Johann was now puzzling himself about the quadrature 
of the circle and the perpctual motion. When he though t that he 
had gained a point in these abstruse studies, he hastened to Tiefen- 
bach to communicate the news of his success to his parents and 
sisters. On such an occasion the whole family would hasten on 
their work, that they might assemble undisturbedly in the evening 
around their father's table, and listen to the profound wisdom of 
Johann. Even old Stilling had tried the quadrature of the circle, 



and had at last succecded in his way. He had done it during the 
intervals of Iiis employment as a maker of charcoal. He had 
found that the same length of string would enclose his round-bellied 
beer-jug and a Square piece of wood. This surely must be " the 
quadrature of the circle," and the old man laughed at the round- 
about ways of lcarned men, who had made a mystery of a very 
simple thing. Johann soon checked this triumph by saying, 
" Father, the problem is not to make a Square box hold as much 
corn as a round tub ; but here it is : to find the exact side of a 
Square whose contents shall precisely equal those of the given circle. 
And this equality must be demonstrated without the slightest frac- 
tion of a remainder." Here the old man lost all the shame of his 
defeat in his admiration of his son*s genius and learning. ■ It is of 
no use to argue with learncd men," said he with a smile. 

1 At this time the poor vülage parson, Moritz, paid a visit to his 
daughter, Dortchen, at Tiefenbach: he appeared to be much de- 
pressed in mind. In the evening he said, " Cliildren, let us walk 
together up to the ruins of the old Castle." Accordmgly they went, 
and as they ascended the hill, under the shadows of the fine beech- 
trees, old Moritz said, " This free air does me good. As we climb 
higher, I feel better. I have wished to teil you that I have feit 
lately that this world is no longer my home, and very probably this 
will be the last autumn in my life." When they had gained the top 
of the hill, they seated themselves on the ruins of the old castle, 
whence they could gaze over a wide expanse of country, bounded in 
the distance by the Ehine. The sun was now going down behind 
the hüls. After old Moritz had looked on this scene for some time 
in silence, he said, " The thought that grieves me, children, is, that 
I must soön die, and leave nothing behind me for you. I have 
passed my life in an unprofitable way, and have made nobody 
happy." " Oh yes, father ! " said Wilhelm, " you have been very 
kind to us. Do not talk so ! " " Children," Moritz replied, " I 
would earnestly warn you against being led by your inclinations. 
Even what we may esteem as a noble disposition may lead us into 
misery. How much good I might have done if I had not devoted 
myself to the fruitless study of alchymy, in which I once thought 
I had found a noble object of ambition ! isow hear my ad vice : 
whatever your inclinations may be, give your first attention to such 
things as will certainly be useful to yourselves and others. I have 
lived in vain, have lost myself in vain studies, and nobody will miss 
me when I am gone." As they walked back to Tiefenbach, Wil- 
helm and Dortchen tried in vain to drive away the old man's me- 
lancholy. After this visit, he endeavoured to do good by going 
about among the poor people, giving them all he had to give — 
advice and consolation. He also worked and supported himself 
by watchmaking. In the following winter he left bis home on 
business, during very severe weather, and did not return. His 
friends went out to search for him, and after three days, found his 
body, dead and frozen, in a snow-drift.' 



Theodor Hippel (1741-179G) wrote a novel founded on the 
incidents of Iiis own life, and marked by a mixture of pathos and 
humour. This author was a man of singular character, and the 
interest of Iiis writings, whicli contain some pleasing passages, 
depends rather on the sentiments and anecdotes of a personal 
character with which they are interspersed, than on their value as 
productions of literary skill. Hippel wrote a book in praise of 
matrimony, and laid down some excellent rules for the conduct of 
wives and husbands ; yet he remained a bachelor all his life, 
apparently preferring rather to propound such rules in their 
abstract beauty, than to attempt the more difficult task of reducing 
them to practice. 

Jacob Engel (1741-1802) was another of the writers of tales 
with practical purposes. His style is remarkably clear and piain. 
His ' Philosophy for the World' (1775) contains many good 
maxims, and ' Lorenz Stark, 1 a domestic novel (1801), was once 
esteemed as the German 1 Vicar of Wakeneid ;' but though it con- 
veys, in a homely style, a good purport and some pleasing pictures 
of common life, it will not bear a comparison with Oliver Gold- 
smith's beautiful tale. The following is a specimen of Engel's 
homely style : — 


' Mr Tobias Witt was born in a little town, and never travelled 
beyond its neighbouring villages. Yet he had seen more of the 
world than some gentlemen who have spent fortunes in Paris and 
Naples ; for he had lived with his eyes and mind open, and had de- 
rived good lessons from common life. He was no prolix philosopher, 
but was fond of telling short stories " founded on facts." These 
anecdotes were generally arranged in couples. You must hear two 
of them to find out the old man's purpose. For instance, a young 
friend named Till was one day praising the peculiar good sense of 
Mr Witt. " Ha, indeed !" said Tobias, "you flatter me." 

" All the world says so," Till replied ; " and as I should like to 
learn a little of your wisdom " 

" Oh, you wish to be a philosopher?" said Tobias. "Well, the way 
is piain. First, let nie advise you to study the conduct of half- 
witted people." 

" Half - witted people ! " Till exclaimed ; " must I follow their 
example ? " 

" Oh no," said Witt; " but I will show you how two such people may 
teach a man how to be wise. When I was a youth, there lived in 
this town an old gentleman called Veit, who was a great Student of 
arithmetic. He was a lank and sour-looking man, extremely re- 
served in his behaviour, and would converse with nobody, but niut- 
tered to himself as he walked along the street. What do you sup- 
rose the people said of him ?" 



u Oh, pcrhaps thcy would say lie was a deep thinker," said 

"No; they called him half-witted. 'Now,' said I to myself, 'I 
will be warned by this example. I will not mutter to myself like 
Mr Veit, but will chattcr with rny townsmen at all times.' But I 
liad only learned half a lesson. There was another odd character 
in our town, a Mr Flink, a dancing-master, who was always ready to 
chatter to anybody who would listen. What, think you, did our 
people say of him?" 

u Pleasant, sociable," said Till. 

"Ohno," said Witt; "he was half-witted too. So common senso 
said to me, ' Tobias, you must not be an imitator either of Mr Veit 
or Mr Flink, but you must be sociable like the latter, and also 
reflective like the former.' This was my way of learning philo- 

sophy." Another day Mr Wills, a young beginner in business, 

came to borrow money from Tobias. 

"How much do you want ?" said Witt. 

" A mcre trifte," said Wills ; u a hundred dollars." 

"You shall have them," said Witt; "and to show that I wish you 
success in vour trade, I will give you something worth more than ' a 

" Ha ! you are too kind," said Wills. 

"It is only a little anecdote," said Witt. " When I was young; 
Mr Grell, a wiue-merchant, was my neighbour. He had a curious 
style of talking, which ruined him." 

" Ruined by a style of talking ! " said Wills. " How ?" 

"Oh, when I asked him 'how is trade?' or 'did you gain by that 
bargain, Mr Grell ?' he would say, ' A trifte ? Some ftfty dollars !' Or 
when I asked, ' Kave you lost money, Mr Grell, by the failure of Mr 
M. ? ' he would reply, ' A trifte, sir ! Some hundred dollars ! ' This 
mode of talking and thinking ruined neighbour Grell. But, let mo 
see, what is the sum you require, Mr Wills?" 

" I asked you to be so kind as to lend me one hundred rix-dol- 
lars, my dear Mr Witt." 

" Oh yes," said Witt ; u but I was thinking of another old neighbour, 
Mr Tomm the corn-dealer, who had another style of talking. Ho 
often spoke of ' considerable sums of money,' especially if he had 
lost some ftfty dollars. If you then met him, and said, ' Why so dull 
to-day, Mr Tomm?' he would reply, 'Sir, I have lost a con-sid-er-able 
sum of money/ However, Mr Tomm became rieh, and built a fine 
house, with extensive warehouses near it. His style did not always 
please me ; for when he was requested to contribute towards the 
relief of the poor, or the improvement of our town, he would still 
complain about the expendiüire of ' considerable sums.' But now to 
business, Mr Till. I must lend you " 

" A con-sid-er-able sum, my dear Mr Witt : I must beg the loan 
of not less than one hundred rix-dollars." 

" Very good, Mr Wills : you are facetious," said Tobias. " Here 
is the money ; but let me add a word : when you borrow, you may 



use Mr Tonim's style, but whon you lend or givc, to help a friend, 
do it in the style of Mr Grell." ' 

The work of Christoph Sturm (1740) entitled 'Meditations 
on the Works of God,' is well known as a pious and instructive 
book, ehiefly adapted to young readers. It was soon translated 
into several languages, and has enjoyed an extraordinary share 
of popnlarity. 

The antobiography of Daniel Schubart, who has been noticed 
among writers of verse, has no great literary merit, but presents 
to us a singular feature in the social condition of Germany. A 
Century has not passed since the Duke of Würtemberg arrested 
Schubart on account of some frivolous satires which he had writ- 
ten, and sentenced him, without any trial, to ten years' imprison- 
inent ! The following extract gives an account of this suinmary 
and despotic process : — 


' About this time I had received various warnings frora friends, 
who told me to take care of myself, as a storm was arising against 

me General Reid, the imperial minister at Ulm, a haughty 

and despotic man, had been seriously offended because I had refused 
to please him by playing on Iiis bad, tinkling harpsichord. His 
friends the Jesuits, taking advantage of Iiis displeasure, brought for- 
ward other charges against me, and advised that I should be piaced 
in confinement. The general only waited for a suitable oceasion, 
and at last thought he had found one when I inserted in my u Ger- 
man Chronicle " a passage in a letter from Yienna, stating " that the 
empress had been seized with apoplexy." For this and similar 
oftences General Reid would have condemned me to imprisonment 
for life ! But he first mentioned his design upon me to the Duke of 
Würtemberg, who replied that he also had an account against me 
(for writing satires), and would take care to have me soon in safa 
custody. Of these designs I remained ignorant ; but a dismal fore- 
boding possessed my mind, and I could not banish from my imagi- 
nation the recollection of a dream which had disturbed my rest 
eight years before this time. In that dream I was surrounded by 
dismal spectres, who tortured me until I prayed them to take away 
my life, when they replied, " We shall not kill you at once, but by 
inches." I now mentioned this gloomy dream to my friend Kapell, 
but he only laughed at it. However, I could not shake off the im- 
pression : there was a foreboding stillness in my bosom, like that 
which precedes a thunder-storm. I feit, though I did not see, that 
the arm which would strike me down was already lifted over my 
head. On the 22d of January 1777, Scholl (one of the onicials of 
the convent at Ulm) came and invited me to dine with him at an 
hotel. I knew this individual, who lived at a neighbouring village 
called Blaubeuren. Though I had engagcd to give a concert in the 



cvening, I acccpted Iiis invitation. While we were Walking to thc 
hotel, he told me that Professor B., who was paying a visit at 
Blaubeuren, would be happy to see me. I pleaded as an excuse 
that I was busy in writing my " Chronicle," and that I had previously 
known Professor B. at Stuttgart ; but ultimately I agreed to go 
with Scholl to bis house at Blaubcuren on the following day. Thus 
I was led into the snares which had been prepared for me. My 
enemies would not venture to lay hands lipon me in Ulm, where I 
had many friends ; and therefore Scholl had been commissioned to 
entice me out of the city. Little thinking of such a design, I gave 
my concert in the evening, and then went home with my wife. I 
remember how I reproved her melancholy as we walked together, 
when she shed tears, and said,"I know not why, but I am vcry sad." 
I slept soundly all night. Heaven gave me this refreshment, that I 
might endure the sorrows of the Coming day. Early in the morning 
Scholl drove to my door in a sledge, to take me to Blaubeuren. 
** Good-by, wife ! " said I ; and she replied with an anxious look, 
giving her hand, "Why cannot the gentleman see you here?" These 
were the last words which I was destined to hear frorn my dear wife 
for a long, long time. My boy looked out of the window and cried, 
* Papa, come back soonf'and thus I was taken from my family 
without having thc consolation of pressing them to my heart, and 

shedding over them the tears of Separation To leave behind 

me — perhaps for ever — my dear widow and her orphans, and still 
to live, but never more to fondle my children on my, knee, and 
hear their innocent prattling ! Judge of the world ! is there in the 
cup of sorrows a drop more bitter than this which I have tasted ? . . . . 
My conductor drove me out of Ulm, away from all my good friends. 
I sat silent beside hini in the sledge, and he did not seem disposed 
to talk; so we rode over the snow-covered road to Blaubeuren. 
JSTear this place two old Castles on the hüls excited my imagination, 
and I was musing on the ancient times of Gerraany, when the sledge 
stopped at the door of Scholl's house. He invited me to walk into a 
Chamber, and I followed him. Here he left me with a maiden, who 
was engaged in spinning with a distaff. She seemed to glance at me 
now and then with a look of pity, and I began to feel anxious, when 
suddenly the door was opened, and Scholl entered, bringing with him 
Major Varnbühler and Count Sponek. " We arrest you under the 
authority of the duke," said the major. At first I received this as a 
joke, for I had been well acquainted with the major ; but bis serious 
look soon convinced me of my mistake. I then said in as manly 
a tone as could be mustered, "I trust that the duke will not 
throw me into a dungeon without first giving me a trial?" The 
major gave no reply, but seemed moved with pity ; Scholl walked 
to and fro in the Chamber, muttering, " 'Tis a sad case ! Truly I 
am very sorry ;" while the poor maiden hid her face in her apron, 
and left the room. Count Sponek looked on coldly. As he was 
a high warden of the forest, an arrest was no movhig incident for 



'Meanwhile tlie vchicle was ready to take me to my prison. I was 
told that I might write to my wife, but my hand rcfused to hold the 
pen. A dinncr was provided, but I could eat nothing. I stepped 
into the carriage while the villagers were gazing and pointing to me 
as " a great criminal." As the major drove me away, I exclaimed 
u My wife ! my children ! They are beggars : I have not left enough 
to sustain them to-morrow." The major tried to console me, and 
promised to recommend the case of my family to the duke. He 
kept his promise, and I trust that God has rewarded bim for it. We 
travelled this day as far as Kirchheim, Avhere we stayed all night. 
Here I was placcd under a guard of stupid fellows, who disturbed my 
rest by muttering one to another, " This is Schubart ! a great male- 
factor ! The duke will treat him severely no doubt." A Courier 
had been despatched to learn the further pleasure of the duke con- 
cerning me. At first it had been determined that I should be con- 
üned at Hohentwiel ; but I learned in the morning that this purpose 
was changed, and that I must be imprisoned in the fortress of As- 
berg. I was now benumbed with despair, and could feel no more. 
This day we halted at noon at Kannstadt, where I took my dinner 
with some appetite, and wrote to my friend Müller in Ulm these few 
words : " Take care of my wife and children, for I can do no more 
for them. I am a prisoner." The poor schoolmaster of Kannstadfr 
awakened my feelings by his sympathy. He begged the major to 
allow him to bring for me a flask of wine ; and when the major de- 
clined this offer, the poor man turned to me with tears in his eyes, 
and endeavoured to console me by speaking of the mercy of God, 
and telling me that " every trouble must have an end." From 
Kannstadt we rode along, until a cold shudder passed over me as I 
saw the tower of Asberg rising in the horizon. " What awaits me 
here?" said a voice within me; and I was meditating on my destiny, 
when the carriage stopped beside the fortress. The duke was here, 
and pointed to the dungeon in which I must be confined. I feit as 
if a cold hand was laid upon my heart. The commandant, Rieger, 
led me to my cell, and I commended myself, my wife, and children, 
to his pity. He left me for a few moments, and returned with the 
Information that the duke would allow to my wife two hundred 
guilders per annum, and that my children should be taken into the 
Stuttgart academy. One burthen was thus removed from my heart. 
But now the commandant left me, the door of my prison was closed 
npon me, and I found myself in the gloomy dungeon — alone ! I 
stood ice-bound with horror, like one who has been swallowed up by 
the waves, and awaking, finds himself in Hades. The prison, the 
only earthly inferno> now closed its portal upon me, involved me in 
its gloom, and surrounded me with its torments.' 

Christoph Friedrich Nicolai (1733-1811), a bookseller in 
Berlin, and the friend of Lessing and Mendelssohn, was noted rather 
for his narrow mind and polemic disposition than for his literary 
abilities. He wrote some satirical novels of low humour, and des- 



pisccl everything whicli surpassed his own commonplace style. 
The writings of Herder, Goethe's poetry, and the philosopliy of 
Kant, were the objects of his ridicule. Cpiristopii Martin Wie- 
land (1733-1813) resembled Nicolai in the levity and materialistic 
tendency of his writings, but possessed superior talents. In his 
youth he had been the friend of Klopstock, and would tolerate 
nothing but religious poetry ; but he turned suddenly to the op- 
posite extreme, and began to write epicurean roraances as vehicles 
of Iiis new views of human life and happiness. In his moral 
doctrine and philosopliy, he was a Frenchman of the age of Louis 
XV. rather than a German. In 17G4 he produced the tale of 
'Agathon, 1 which was followed in 1768 by ' Musarion.' The 
' Abderites ' appeared in 1774, and his best romance, ( Aristippus/ 
was completed in 1794. In all these writings his purpose was to 
represent pleasure, or utility, as the only criterion of truth, and 
to make all further inquiries appear ridiculous. He was the 
object of much applause and censure m his day. His opponents 
callecl his philosopliy shallow and frivolous, while his admirers 
praised, with some reason, the clear and lively style in which he 
expressed his opinions. The following short passage may convey 
some notion both of his style and his philosopliy : — 


4 Above all, my dear brethren, let us guard against the folly of 
proclaiming Our opinions as indisputable axioms. It is, indeed, ridi- 
culous to hear a mortal giving expression to his convictions as if 
they were oracles delivered from the sacred tripods. If we could find 
a man as old as Nestor, and seven tiraes as wise as the seven wise 
men together, he would surely teil us (just because he was so old 
and so wise) that in proportion as he had extended his inquiries, he 
had become convinced of the propriety of modest doubt. He would 
confess that for every spot of light in the field of nature, there are 
ten thousahd left in obscurity. Yes, if we could elevate ourselves 
above this earthly ball, which we call the world, and take a Station 
in the sun, and view in Iiis light the whole solar System, as clearly as 
we can behold from a terrace the plan of a littie fiower garden, even 
then this planetary System Avould be but one littie spot of bright- 
ness amid an unmeasured universe still left in obscurity. Then 
agaiu, when this old and wise man had observed that the incompre- 
hensible nature of the world on a large scale is also found on a small 
scale even in the minutest particle ; when he had considered how 
many various influences and relations may meet even in one atom, 
and how impossible it is to aecount satisfactorily for the least phe- 
nomenon or movement, without comprehending the whole System of 
nature, then, I humbly suggest, that the great result of all our sage's 
contemplations would be modesty, and I should not wonder if I 
heard him deiiver his opinions in a tone of caution whicli might 


1 13 

perliaps bc condcmned by a stout dogmatist as approaclüng too 
nearJy to scepticism.' 


Perliaps 110 writer of tliis time contributed more toward tlie for- 
mation of an improved prose style than Johann Mosheim (1694— 
1755), the well-known autlior of an Ecclesiastical History, oncc 
extensively circulated, but now in a great measure superseded by 
modern works of deeper researcli. Mosheim occupied several 
academical situations, and died professor of theology at Güttin- 
gen, where he was highly esteemed. His sermons and other 
writings were on the side of orthodox Protestantism. His con- 
temporary, Hermann Eeimarus (1694-1768), wrote in favour of 
natural theology, and may be considered as the founder of the 
Rationalistic School. It may be noticed here that this school has 
been frequently confouncled with the more modern school of 
Idealism, of which Hegel was the founder, and which rests on a 
>supposition distinct from that held by Reimarus and his followers. 
These theologians accept revelation only so far as it is confirmed 
by reason and experience, and therefore reject, or endeavour to 
explain away, all Statements of supernatural events. The modern 
school of idealism also denies the historical valiclity of these 
Statements, but regards them not as meanhigless hiventions, but 
as mythical expressions of the highest and most abstract truths. 
Without due attention to this distinction, writers of opposite 
tendencies may be erroneously classed together. Reimarus was 
professor of the Hebrew language, and afterwards of mathe- 
matics, at Hamburg. His writings are serious in tone, and clear 
on some pomts of natural theology; but he assumes too much for 
the province of individual judgment, without considering duly the 
external aids which it requircs. The following passage is ex- 
tractecl from the work of Reimarus on ' The Prhicipal Truths of 
Natural Theology ' (1754) :— 


* Wc find in the moral and intellectual nature of man, whenever 
it is fairly developed, a faculty of imagining and desiring a state of 
cxistence higher, purer, happier, and more complete than the pre- 
sent life. As reason cannot find satisfaction in merely comparing the 
present with the past, but must also look onward to the future, so 
the love of life and the desire for perfection accompany the specu- 
lation of reason, and extend into an infinite futurity. It is an essen- 
tial quality of our reason, that it is able to form conceptions of a 
better and higher state of being than that which we enjoy here ; and 
the desire to enjoy that superior life is an equally essential part of 



our naturc. In fcw words, the thoughts and desires of mcn natu- 
rally look beyond all the boundaries of the present life into 

1 Tins is an instinct which chiefly distinguishes ns from surrounding 
animated nature. The facnlties of irrational creatures are fairly 
and harmoniously unfolded in this life. We see no signs that they 
are accompanied by a desire for immortality and a State of perfec- 
tion. They appear to find füll satisfaction in physical enjoyments ; 
they pay the debt of nature, without suffcring under gloomy fore- 
bodings, or restless thoughts and desires respecting the future; in 
short, they seem to find a complete sphere of development in this 
life. But, on the other side, we can certainly conceive the thought 
of a better world than this. In vain we endeavour to find satisfac- 
tion either in sensual or intellectual pleasures ; we look forward to 
death with reluctance and fear, and we cannot contemplate the 
grave with contentment, until we see beyond it the prospect of a 
better future life. 

' As this instinctive desire of immortality is thus shown to be in 
accordance with our moral and intellectual nature, it cannot be 
classified with visionary theories or mere dreams. These are re- 
jected because it can be easily proved that they are in Opposition 
to the rules of reason and the Constitution of nature. But as our 
will must seek happiness according to the widest views of reason, our 
desires must transcend the bounds of the present life, as our reason 
does. Even the false and earthly desires of men prove, by their 
continual disappointments, that the true object of rational desire 
must be infinite. 

' It is as natural in us to look forward beyond this world, as it is in 
the lower animals to remain satisfied with their present life ; as their 
nature is confined within certain bounds, our own is distinguished by 
its capacity of continual development. A desire for such develop- 
ment has been planted in us by our Creator. 

£ ~Now where do we find instincts falsified in the plan of nature ? 
"VVherc do we see an instance of a creature endowed with an instinct 
craving a certain kind of food in a world where no such food can be 
found ? Are the swallows deceived by their instinct when they fly 
away from clouds and storms to find a warmer country ? Do they 
not find a milder climate beyond the water ? "When the May-flies 
and other aquatic insects leave their husks, expand their wings, and 
soar from the water into the air, do they not find an atmosphere 
fitted to sustain them in a new stage of life ? Certainly. The voice 
of nature does not utter false prophecies. It is the call, the invitation 
of the Creator addressed to Iiis creatures. And if this is true with 
regard to the impulses of physical life, why should it not be true 
with regard to the superior instincts of the human soul V 

The reader will probably observe that even in the serious and 
theological writings of this period we find no traces of that in- 
volved and mystical style which is found in several modern Ger- 



man authors. The writings of Mosheim, Haller, Gellert, 
Garve, Iselin, and Reimarus, are perfectly free from mysticism. 
Even Kant, who perhaps may be regarded as a verbose and com- 
plex writer, employed a style which appears clear in comparison 
with the works of such authors as Hegel and Sciiliermacher. 
It may be said that the ränge of modern philosophy and theology 
has been greatly extended by recent writings ; but with regard to 
clearness and order in prose, many modern authors might even 
now refer with profit to the works of writers described in this 
section. We may now notice two writers who were alike in their 
lowly pretensions and practical character. 

Johann Tiede (1732-1795) was a preacher and inspector of 
schools. He did not meddle with abstruse speculations, but wrote 
a series of ' Meditations on Childhood,' and other practical sub- 
jects, in a tone of simple and earnest piety, which found many 
admirers. Thomas Abbt also (1738-1766) wrote moral essays in 
an earnest and practical style. In one of these essays he argues 
that no elaborate Systems of divinity are required ; for to under- 
stand these, and the controversies arising out of them, would re- 
quire a great share of the interest which should be devoted to 
practical life. He advises the rieh to subscribe to put a little 
library of pious and useful books into the house of eveiy poor 
couple newly married. 

Turning to the subject of Philosophy, we may observe here that 
this title in Germany is not applied exclusively to the study of the 
physical sciences, but comprehends all the investigations known 
in England and Scotland under the names of moral philosophy 
and metaphysics. The intellectual and moral Constitution of man, 
his relations with the extemal world, with his fellow-men, and 
with the Supreme Being, the questions of liberty and necessity, 
and indeed all the highest problems which have occupied reflective 
minds, from the days of Plato down to the present time, are com- 
prehended under the term philosophy. To the study of this phi- 
losophy Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) contributed a strong impulse 
by the publication of his £ Critique of Pure Reason ' in 1781. We 
shall not attempt to give here an analysis of this work, as it will 
be more convenient to classify the leading philosophers of Ger- 
many in another section. At present, Kant may be noticed merely 
witli regard to his general character as a writer. He was bom at 
Königsberg, and studied theology there. In 1770 he was elevated 
to the rank of professor of logic and metaphysics. In 1787 he 
produced, as a companion to his first great work, ' The Critique of 
Practical Reason,' and in 1790 his 1 Criticism of the Faculty of 
Judgment.' This work, which contains an analysis of the senti- 
ments of the sublime and the beautiful, is perhaps the most favour- 



able specimen of Kant's style, which is rather precise aad judieious 
than eoncise and clear. The opinions of Kant are by no means so 
mvstcrious as Iiis own style sometimes, and still more the style of 
some of Iiis Interpreters, would make them appear. In many points 
he approached very closely to the elear and modest Scottisn philo- 
sopher Reid, and some of Iiis moral doctrines may be found in the 
Sermons of Bishop Butler, which show the authoritative character 
of the moral principle in man, and distinguish it from mere instincts 
and inclinations. This -was really all that Kant endeavoured to 
explain by the use of Iiis erabbed term, ' the categoric imperative.' 
' Two things,' said Kant, ' excite my wonder : first, that System of 
planets which moves hi eternal order in the heavens ; and secondly 
(but still more wonderful !), that System of moral laws which I Und 
within myself.' The life of this philosopher was marked by few 
externa! incidents. He lived in a metaphysical sphere, and think- 
ing was his mode of action. Düring Iiis life of eighty years he 
remained a bachelor. Though his bodily Constitution was delicate, 
by care and regularity of regimen, he contrived to enjoy a remark- 
able degree of health. He teils us in his writings that, by the 
exertion of thought and will, he could often suppress the sense of 
bodily pain. His memory was remarkably retentive. The fol- 
lowing passages will afford some indication of Iiis style : — 


' Mere terror, in whatever degree, must not be mistaken for the 
true sentiment of sublimity ; for the man who is really subjected to 
the influence of terror is not in a condition of niind to appreciate the 
sublime. Bcsidcs, there is nothing attractive in a merely terrible 
object, and this sufficiently it from sublimity, for to- 
ward the latter we feel an attraction. Bold, overhanging, and 
threatening rocks, thunder - clouds piled together, and bursting in 
lightnings, fierv volcanoes, devastating hurricanes, and tlie stormy 
ocean, may be objects of mere terror, when we find ourselves within 
their grasp ; for we have no physical power that can dare to resist 
them. But they may also become objects of sublime emotion. Give 
«s a secure place, whence we may behold thesc terrors, and we now 
call them sublime. Why ? Their character is not chauged. The 
change is in ourselves. ÄVe now see that our physical powers are a 
mere nothing when contrasted with these powers around us. But 
this refiection can excite no sublime emotion ; rather it must pro? 
duce a sense of humiliation and depression. But we also feel that 
we have a power within us (a moral power) which is firmer and 
ßtronger than all nature, and will not quail before the terrors of the 
external world. This is the true emotion of sublimity, and the 
objects which excite this emotion are accounted by us (though not 
correctly) as being sublime in themselves.' 




'If the reader inquires "What is pure morality ? " I woold say 
that nothing save the confusion produced byan erroneous philosophy 
has mado such a question difficult ; for long ago it was answered, 
as it is now, by the common sensc of mankind. Here, however, 
I would reply by giving an cxample ; and let it be seen if a clever 
boy of ten years cannot discover in this example the marks of a 
true and pure morality, without asking for any help from bis school- 
master. I would quote the story of some good man who was re- 
quested to take a part in a false accusation against some innocent 
and helpless person — (suppose such a persecution as that of Anna 
Bullen by the English Henry YIII). Wealth is ofrered as a bribe 
for false testimony ; but our good man refuses to touch it, and this 
excites some admiration : for it is noble to-prefer moral honesty to 
worldly gain; but the temptation becomes more severe — punish- 
ments wait upon the refusal of the bribe. Among the slanderers 
there are some of the good man's friends, or some rieh relatives, or 
some powerful men who may persecute him as long as he lives ; or, 
lastly, a despotic king who can take away freedom, or life itself. 
This is not all. Our hero is also exposed to the peculiar temptations 
to which only a tender and humane heart can be liable. His wife 
and children, fearing disgrace, poverty, and ruin, beg him to accede 
to the unrighteous request ; but all their tears and intreaties are 
vain. He does not act in the pride of stoicism : he feels, and at the 
same time masters his feelings, and, in short, he maintains bis inte- 
grity. He esteems truth and duty above wealth, friendship, comfort, 
his wife, bis children, his life itself. Now what would be the effect 
of this story upon an intelligent boy ? From approbation he would 
rise to admiration, to vencration. He would wish to become such 
a man, though not to be placed in similar circumstances. And 
what is it in the good man's behaviour which makes such an impres- 
sion even on the mind of a boy ? It is the simple act of obedience 
to moral law. Here, then, virtue is not esteemed for its utility, 
for its quality of producing happiness (as it does in ordinary circum- 
stances) : virtue is esteemed in itself, though it is attended by the 
sacrifice of all inferior desirable things. Our admiration is seized 
by the purity, the simplicity of the moral principle, standing alone 
and unsupported by such auxiliaries as prudence, love of life, and 
love of happiness. In the common circumstances of life, the moral 
principle may be assisted by these inferior motives ; but it must 
be estimated in itself, without regard to its usual adjunets, and, as 
affliction is necessary to test the purity of the moral principle, so 
it is generally allowed that pure virtue shines most brightly in ad- 
versity. We conclude, then, that all admixtures of views of private 
happiness, or worldly respect, or honour, are unfavourable to the 
inculcation and practice of morality, which should be regarded 
simply and solely as a duty. In the instance of moral action which 

* From tlie ' Critique of Practical Rcason.' 1787. 



I have supposed, the more simply we regard the man as acting with 
a pure regard to moral rectitude, without the pride of heroism, or 
regard for worldly renown, the higher Iiis conduet must rise in our 

' It is neecssary to dwell on these simple facts of man's moral Con- 
stitution in the present age, when men hope to do more by the use 
of fine sentiments, and pompous heroical declamations on " greatness," 
" fame," and u honour," than by the simple and severe exhibition of 
the moral law. To set before the minds of children great and noble 
actions, to show the honour and dignity to which such actions tend, 
and to stimulate young minds to imitation by a hope of honour and 
renown — this is a mode opposed to the true plan of moral teaching. 
"White young minds are ignorant of the nature of so many duties, 
it is vain to endeavour to supply the want of clear knowledge by 
raising a vague enthusiasm. And also, among adult and educated. 
persons, the sentimental style of excitement to moral action cannot 
have true success. It is not by exciting the feelings, but by develop- 
ing the pure reason, that the true effect must be produced. Moral 
emotions which are intended to produce great practical results must 
not be allowed to explode in sentimental excitement, but must pro- 
ceed immediately to action. Feeling aecompanying moral action 
may strengthen virtuous principle; but mere excitement, raised 
again and again, and allowed to die away without a practical result, 
can only lead to moral debility. In short, moral action must be re- 
garded in itself without respect to the characteristics of magnani- 
mity, honour, or pleasurable emotions by which it may be usually 
attended. To estimate it thus, we must look not only on the ex- 
ternal action, but also on the internal motive; for even a good 
action, proeeeding from a love of some moral beauty or perfection, 
must be in some degree mistrusted, as it is the result of inclination, 
while pure morality is a simple fulfilment of duty. 

1 It may be said that this is a harsh style of teaching, which takes 
away from virtue all such sentimental helps as a regard for gene- 
rosity, magnanimity, and the praise which aecompanies great actions. 
But let us see if the mode of teaching which we recommend is not 
clearer and more efFectual than that to which we are opposed. Take 
another example : — A brave man, at the risk of his own life, saves 
the lives of other men from a shipwreck. This action may, in cer- 
tain circumstances, be regarded as a simple duty of humanity, and 
then there is no question about it ; but when we regard it merely as 
an act of heroism and generosity, our approbation of these qualities 
may be tempered by some doubts regarding the duty which the man 
owes to himself. Again, the heroism of the man who sacrifices his 
life for the welfare of his country may raise some doubts and scrnples 
even in the midst of our admiration, so long as we do not see clearly 
that it was his absolute duty so to do. But when we see in an action 
a sacrifice of honour, or happiness, or life, to the fulfilment of an un- 
doubted duty, the neglect of which would be a violation of divine and 
human law — when there is no choice save between duty performed 



at the cost of lifo, and lifo preserved by an immoral action, and when 
the former coursc is resolutely taken, herc tlicre is no scruplc, no 
reserve in our approbation : we say at once " it is good ! " and aro 
proud that human nature can thus lift itself far above all the inclina- 
tions and passions of the sensuous world. The Roman satirist Juve- 
nal gives the maxims of such a virtue where he says — " Dare to be a 
good soldier, a good teacher, a just judge. If the brazen bull of 
Phalaris be brought forward to compel you to give a false testimony, 
still disdain to prefer life to honesty, or, for the sake of lifc, to sacri- 
nce all that makes life truly valuable." * 

' When from this simple view of morality as a duty, we turn to 
think of our merit, our happiness, our magnanimity, we mingle self- 
worship with our moral actions. But when we place all other things 
far below the holiness of duty ; when we regard the law of pure 
reason simply as a law, and not as an object of choice or inclination 
— then only we lift ourselves above the world of the senses ; and only 
by resolute continuance in such practice can we confirm our reason 
in that sovereignty over all inferior powers which it legitimately 

The name of -Moses Mendelssohn (1729) deserves honourable 
notice. He was the son of Jewish parents, and so poor, that Iiis 
education depended on the charity of some wealthy Jews in Berlin. 
Here he was instructed in the legends of the Talmud ; but these 
traditions did not satisfy his inquiring mind. He laboriously edu- 
cated himself, became acquainted with general literature, especially 
the philosophical works of Leibnitz, and studied the doctrines of 
Socrates as explained by Tlato. As the fruit of these studies, he 
wrote an able exposition of the argument on the 1 Immortality of 
the Soul,' contained in Plato's ' Phaedon.' He formed an intimate 
friendship with Lessing, the writer of £ Nathan.' After the death 
of Lessing, another philosophical writer, Jacobi, with more zeal 
than good taste, wrote a work in which he accused the deceased 
author of having held Pantheistic opinions. To this Charge 
Mendelssohn replied, and warmly defended the character of his 
departed friend. But Jacobi either had, or appeared to have, the 
advantage in some points of the argument ; and this controversy 
had such an effect on the delicate health of Mendelssohn, as to 
hasten his death, which took place in Berlin in 1786. This writer, 
who has been styled the ' Jewish Socrates,' was evidently a sin- 
cere and ardent inquirer after truth; and as Iiis opinions were 

* The nervous langu&ge of the Roman satirist cannot be easily translated: — 

' Esto bomis miles, tntor bonus, arbiter idem 
ßiteger ; ambiguae si quando citabere testis 
Incertseque rei, Phalaris licet imperet ut sis 
Falsus, et admoto dictet perjuria tauro, 
Summtmi crede nefas animam prseferre pudori 
Et propter vitam vivendi perdere caussas.' 



the results of eamest invcstigations, he naturally held tliem very 
firmly. Au extract from one of Iiis essays is subjoined : — 


1 1 cannot read without pity the opinion of a French writer 
(Pluche), that u the efforts of Reaumur to preserve carpets and 
tapestry from the ravages of moths, were more worthy of admiration 
than all the moral speculations of Leibnitz ! " Is not this saying 
that even the vain luxuriös of our houses are of more importance 
than our own souls, or even than the honour of the Divine charac- 
1er, which may bc misrepresented by a false philosophy ? On the 
other side, I would assert that, even if the alchymists had succeeded 
in their effbrts, and had turned every stone on the earth's surface 
into gold, they would have made an absurd mistake if they had re- 
garded such a feat as the completion and final triumph of philo- 
sophy. Yet I do not despise utilitarian studies in their proper 
place. When inen were without the physical conveniences of life, 
to discover these was a worthy object of natural philosophy, and in- 
ventors in this department deserve their fame. But inventions of 
this kind, when once made, do not require repctition. The externa! 
man (the body) is now more sumptuously attended than ever before. 
Every man is born into an improved physical world, and finds a 
great part of the work of civilisation already done for him. Wo 
enjoy every day the results of centuries of inventions. It is not so 
in the moral and intellectual sphere. Every generation brings its 
crowd of new and raw pupils into the school of moral philosophy. 
Here none can rest entirely on the labours of anothcr. Every man 
is born to search for truth, and to make free bis own moral nature 
from confusion and doubt. Is not the endeavour to satisfy this 
necessity of our nature of greater importance than the cultivation of 
sensuous luxuries l Even if we accept the principle, that happincss 
in this life should be the sole object and end of all wisdom, we may 
still ask, must not this happiness rest on internal peace l and will 
not the contcmplation of truth open the widest field of rational 
enjoymcnt i I am not writing a cold treatise, but speaking from 
experience, and from my heart. Eor once I lost my footing on the 
way to truth, and feil aniong terrible doubts and perplexities. I 

even despaired of all attempts toward a virtuous life Now, in 

such a state of mental bewildcrment as I have just described, what 
help, what comfort, could your cold worldly maxims afford to me ? 
Hcre I am in doubt and darkness ! 'Tis vain to say to me, " Care 
nothing about it !" Help me,shallow, flippant sophists ! Alas ! you 
have no help to give : you leave me in my misery. But thanks to 
better guides, true philosophers, who led me back to confidence in 
truth and faith in virtue. Thanks to Locke and "Wolf ! and to theo, 
immortal Leibnitz ! I have erected a monument of thankfulncss in 
my heart.* 

Friedrich Jacobi (1743-1819), already mentioncd as the op- 



ponent of Mendelssohn, was a writer of eonsiderable power, but 
indulged too much in a declamatory strain. He could state far 
more clearly Iiis objections to the theories of other writers than 
his own views. These could not be explained without some 
analysis of the Systems to which they were opposed. Jacobi 
endeavoured to inculcate some points of his philosophy in two 
romances, ' Allwill ' (1792), and 'Woldemar' (1794), butwith little 
success. Jacobi, though not without sagacity in controversy, 
often wrote in a declamatory style, singularly unsuitable for phi- 
losophical discussions. But as he wrote on the most important 
topics, such as the foundations of belief, and the nature of morality, 
his works arrested the attention of reflective minds, and gained 
for their author a reputation beyond his merits. So polemical 
was his mode of thinking, that, in defending one view of a ques- 
tion, he could not see the merits of any other view. Thus, in 
the subjoined extract, he maintains that the authority of moral 
doctrines must be found in the immediate dictates of conscience ; 
while he repudiates all attempts to explain and recommend virtue 
by reference to its quality of producing general happiness. The 
contradiction which he supposes to exist between these two modes 
of viewing the same subject is in a great measure imagmary ; 
though it has been made the starting-point of voluminous contro- 
versy : — 


' How can firm moral convictions be reconciled with a candid 
acknowledgment that there is no power of reason so pure and 
clear that it cannot be led into erroneous conclusions? Or, in 
other words, how can we place reliance in our own moral judg- 
ments, while we admit that our understanding often misleads us, 
and that the most erroneous reasonings can be made to appear 
correct? I answer, it would be impossible, if we did not possess 
certain immediate, simple, and positive principles of judgment which 
do not derive their authority from any process of reasoning, but 

rather preside over all reasoning One of these principles 

is the moral instinet by which we are led to pronounce a judgment 
on actions and dispositions, irrespective of all reasoning on their 
useful or injurious qualities, and without any regard to their ten- 
dency to produce either happiness or misery. It is an immediate 
spontaneous judgment. As the beautiful is at once recognised 
and enjoyed by the innate taste for beauty, so the good is at once 

known and approved by the faculty of moral judgment Virtue, 

therefore, must be esteemed by us apart from all consideration of 
its tendency to produce happiness. As Plato and Cicero said, the 
gods are regarded " not as good because they are happy, but as 
happy because they are good." It is as absurd to esteem virtue on 
aecount of its happiness, as it would be to esteem happiness on 



account of its useful qualitics. Happiness is at once feit and valued, 
and in tlie same way virtue must be esteemed in itself, and not 
as a means of attaining any other object. Tor why should virtue be 
rewarded if it is not in itself good and praiseworthy ? If not, then 
the Supreme Governor must be regarded as baving no estimation 
of virtue except on account of the rewards which he has appended 
to it; and rewards and punishments must make the whole dis- 
tinction between virtue and vice.' 

Such was Jacobi's mode of reasoning — a very imperfect method 
of treating a momentous question. It will be seen that his moral 
doctrine mainly coincides with that of Kant already quoted, and 
that it is directly opposed to the moral philosophy of the English 
utilitarian J eremy Bentham ; while Jacobi imagined that there 
could be no third way of viewing the same subject. It must be 
allowed that both the theory of ' moral instinct 1 and that of Uti- 
lity, or ' the greatest happiness of the greatest number,' are ex- 
posed to serious objections, when each is set up as a self-sufficient 
and perfect Standard of morality. Against the former theory it 
may be urged that it would make all moral teaching impossible, 
except by a simple appeal to a supposed moral instinct; and that, 
when this is cleficient or erroneous, no hope is given of correction 
or improvement. On the other side, when Bentham asserts that 
virtue has no reality apart from the rational pursuit of happiness, 
it may be observed that by the common consent of mankind, vir- 
tuous principle is esteemed most highly when it acts disinterestedly. 
Another objection to the same doctrine is, that the word happiness 
bears an uncertain meaning, and that the experience which one 
man regards as pleasure would be pain for another man. In the 
next section (where modern German philosophy is more fully 
treated), it will be seen that there is a third method of treating 
moral questions, which is free from the objections raised against 
the opposite doctrines of Jacobi and Bentham. This third doctrine 
(which may be briefly noticed ' here) is founded on a philosophy 
which describes reason as impersonal. In other words, it asserts 
that the same reason which is displayed on a wide scale in the 
external world, in society and history, is also present in the indi- 
vidual conscience. The internal and the external testimony are 
simply two modes of manifestation of the same subject; and con- 
sequently, where the former mode is defective, it may be enlarged 
and corrected by a reference to universal reason. The maintainer 
of this view, without denying the validity of internal impressions, 
would rather appeal to the law of that unity and order which pre- 
vails throughout the universe, and which none can deny without 
'denying the value of all law, order, and society. To make clear 
the important difference of these three moral doctrines, we must 



take an instance of tlieir application. Suppose that the vice of 
falsehood is to be exposed : Jacobi would say, ' It is opposed to 
the moral instinct;' but if some hardened offender denies the 
existence of such an instinct, all further argument is impossible. 
Bentham would show that falsehood is opposed to common happi- 
ness ; but the question still remains, By what rule are we to hx- 
the meaning of this word i happiness ? ' The modern German 
idealist endeavours to put aside these doubts by explaining the 
impersonal nature of that reason which preserves order through- 
out the world by maintaining unity in variety. He would thus 
attempt to treat a moral subject, such as falsehood, in a purely 
scientific style. First, he would show that a lie breaks the natu- 
ral and rational unity between thought and speech, and also 
between speech and confidence ; and (even supposing any one to 
be so blind as not to see evil in this) he would proceed to show 
that society must be founded on trust, and trust upon truth ; and 
so on, until every one who values society, or the common Privi- 
leges of existence, must see and admit the destructive nature of 
falsehood. The advantage which this doctrine has over the 
' instinctive principle ' of Jacobi, and the ' greatest happiness prin- 
ciple ' of Bentham, lies in its clearer and more objective character, 
which is not subject to personal mistakes, but may be explained to 
every reasoning mind. It may be aclded, that this doctrine con- 
tains all the positive truth of the views of Jacobi and Bentham, 
as the idealist admits that universal law or reason is spontaneously 
or instinctively manifested in the conscience of the individual, and 
also that the result, general happiness, is another manifestation of 
the same law when consistently obeyed. The earnest writings of 
Jacobi gave an impulse to the controversies and inquiries which 
have already produced great results, and will probably lead to 
greater. In this fact his chief merit, as an author, consists. 

Jacobi's friend, Johann George Hamann (1730-1738), maybe 
mentioned here, though not on account of his literary merits, for 
he wrote in a style of studied oddity. Yet in this stränge style 
it was his pleasure to wrap up ideas which exercised a great in- 
fluence on such contemporaries as Herder and Goethe. He was 
the Opponent of what he called 1 system-building ' in philosophy ; 
but was more remarkable for his views of poetiy. He laughed 
at cold, artificial verse-making, and asserted that all poetry of 
true value must be the expression of the heart, and must have 
an intimate relation with actual life. He applied the same views 
to religious doctrines. 

Johann Eberhard (1739-1809), the friend of Mendelssohn, was 
a theologian, and also a profcssor of philosophy at Halle. Many 
of his views were derived from the writings of Leibnitz. He 



wrote tlic ' New Apology of Socrates,' and a System of ' Rational 
Ethics.' In another of Iiis works, the ' Theory of the Fine Arts,' 
he endeavoured to place all productions of genius and art ander 
certain moral regulations. His style was precise and clear. 

Agaiii we may observe that as this treatise is confined to 
German literature, the names of many Latin writers are left un- 
mentioned. In this sixth period many learned critics and philo- 
logists acquired celebrity. Johann Brucker (1696-1770) wrote 
'Historia Critica Philosophie ' (a Critical History of Philosophy). 
Johann Christoph Adelung (1734-1806) wrote a ' Critical Dic- 
tionary of the German Language, 1 and another philological work 
entitled ' MithridatesJ Bode, Bengel, and Bach, were names 
celebrated in philology and biblical exegesis. 

Though this period produced no writer of great power and 
originality (if we except Lessing), it was a time marked by great 
progress in German literature, and served to introduce the epoch 
of Goethe, Herder, and Schiller. It is not easy to determine in 
what degree German authors hi the beginning and middle of the- 
eighteenth Century were indebted to English literature, but there 
is no cloubt that they derived from its study considerable beiiefit. 
And now, toward the close of this period, the dramas of Shak- 
speare were introduced and recommended to the attention of 
many students by the writings of Lessing, Herder, and Goethe. 
A new world of poetry was opened, and the third period of re- 
markable intellectual excitement began in Germany, and pro- 
duced a literature richer, more voluminous, and more important, 
than that of all the preceding periods taken collectively. 


This remarkable period comprehends the modern literature of 
Germany which arose in the days of Lessing and Herder, and 
has already extended its influence over a great part of the civilised 
world. Many of its productions are valuable and important ; but 
the rapid growth of this literature, especially its poetry, has 
been regarded with cxaggerated admiration. The account which 
has been given of the slow progress, or rather the low condition, 
of poetry and general literature, from the time of Luther to the 
appearance of Lessing, will supply an explanation of that exaltecl 



estimate of modern German authors whicli was formed in the 
latter part of the eighteenth Century, and of whicli we find some 
remains in the present day. The disposition to overrate the genius 
of such original writers as Lessing, Herder, and Goethe, will appear 
perfectly natural, when we consider that their productions were 
regarded in the light of a contrast with the poor and feeble litera- 
ture of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The intellectuai 
dulness of the Middle Ages maintained its hifluence in Germany 
from the beginning of the fourteenth to the close of the seven- 
teenth Century. These four centuries passed away, marked with 
many great events in society, politics, and religion, but without 
producing one great poet, or even an elegant and classical writer 
of prose. Latin writers in theoiogy and philology, too numerous* 
to be mentioned, flourished during these ages, and many works. 
of considerable learning, though generally of a pedantic character, 
were produced ; for these were the times when a theologian would 
write a folio volume of Latin to explain a few chapters of the 
Bible. But such labours had no influence on the progress of a na- 
tional, and especially a poetical literature of the German people. If 
we had regarded works only when marked by literary excellence r 
without attention to their moral and social purport, we might 
have passed over four centuries without notice in this history. 
This is a fact to which English literature, during the same period,. 
presents a remarkable contrast. While Hans Sachs, the writer 
of homely and childish fables in verse, fairly represented the. 
character of German poetry in the sixteenth Century, the Eliza- 
bethan era of poetical genius was in its lustre in England. Shak- 
speare wrote his dramas only a few years after the death of the 
rhyming German shoernaker. No fact can more strikingly show 
how far Germany has remained behind 4 utilitarian ' England in 
the cultivation of poetry. If we turn our attention to prose 
writers, the contrast is equally remarkable. Several years be- 
fore Fischart wrote his stränge and half-barbarous prose satires, 
Richard Hooker (1554-1600) had written his ' Ecclesiastica!, 
Polity 1 in beautiful language, and Lord Bacon had produced his. 
philosophical essays. In the seventeenth Century we still find 
the contrast between the vigour of Engiish and the feebleness- 
of German literature. Martin Opitz, a mechanical versifier, and 
the small imitators who regarded him as the ' Horace of his times/ 
represented German poetry during the age which produced such 
writers as Milton, Dryden, Barrow, and Tillotson. With regard 
to later times, it may be said that Pope would hardly have ho- 
noured the German versifiers who flourished, or rather attempted 
to flourish, during his time with a place in the ' Dunciad.' In 
1733, when Pope produced his f Essay on Man, 1 and when tho 



writings of Temple, Locke, Addison, and Steele, were circiüated 
in England, Friedrich-Wilhelm, the semi - barbarian king of 
Prussia, regarded all the literature and philosophy of his subjects 
with a contempt which it deserved in a great measure, on acconnt 
of its unreal and pedantic character. About twenty years later, 
when Klopstock, excited to imitative effort by Milton's great 
poem, began to write the ' Messiah,' this work was esteemed as 
sufficiently remarkable to make an epoch in poetry. The im- 
provement in German literature about this time may be chiefly 
attributed to English influence. Yet Frederick II. of Prussia 
believed that his people were wholly destitute of literary genius 
and taste, and imported all literature and philosophy for his own 
amusement from France. This contempt was certainly unjusti- 
nable, as at this time an important revival of German literature 
was beginning ; but the fact shows to what a low condition na- 
tional genius had been reduced ; for Frederick, though a shallow 
man in philosophy, and under the guidance of Voltaire, had some 
literary talent and taste. 

From this low point of view the improved productions of the 
eighteenth Century were regarded, and it must be allowed that the 
disposition of German readers to overrate their new authors — such 
men as Kant, Lessing, Herder, and Goethe — was perfectly natural, 
and indeed hardly avoidable. For Kant, though he wrote in a 
prolix and abstruse style, ventured to think for himself, and was 
certainly a remarkable philosophical writer, when judged by a com- 
parison with his pedantic predecessor, Christian Wolf. And it is 
no wonder that Lessing's ' Minna von Barnhelm,' and other dramatic 
works, were regarded as good productions when contrasted with 
the bombastic dramas of Gryphius and Lohenstein. The spon- 
taneous and natural lyrics of Goethe might well shine as gems of 
poetry beside the paste of Opitz and other poetasters. Tn short, 
there was at this time a remarkable revival of poetry and general 
literature, and German critics naturally regarded it with reference 
to the past literature of their own country. Kant was therefore 
esteemed as ' a modern Aristotle, 1 Jacobi was styled ' the German 
Plato,' and not only Goethe, but even Jean Paul Richter also, was 
compared with Shakspeare ! In this enthusiastic style of estima- 
tion there was gross exaggeration. The comparison of Goethe 
and Shakspeare, for instance, must appear ridiculous to every 
reader who is well acquainted with the opposite characteristics of 
these two authors. Goethe was great, not in comparison with the 
English dramatist, but in relation to the poetical writers of Ger- 
many in the seventeenth Century. 

The exaggerated estimate which has thus been easily explained, 
was received by some English authors who had a partial acquaint- 



ance with German litcrature, and has been maintained by their 
influence to the present day. The charm of novelty, a natural 
tendency to put a high value on subjects to which we have devoted 
considerable study, and a disposition to admit, without due exa- 
mination, the assertions of foreign critics, have probably been the 
causes of the too favourable estimate of modern German literature.* 


The time extending between 1150 and 1300 has been styled the 
1 First Classic Period ' of German poetry, and that which we have 
now to describe has been esteemed as the second. Objections may 
be raised against the application of such a word as ' classic ' to 
these times ; but it is certain that these two epochs have resembled 
each other in their productiveness. Another similarity may be 
observed between them, in the failure of all attempts to mamtain a 
distinct national school of poetry. In the thirteenth centmy, the 
national epic appeared, but was soon neglected, and almost for- 
gotten, among the foreign legends and sentimental verses of the 
* Eomancists ' and ' Minnesingers.' In the eighteenth Century, 
when Lessing had made a path for original genius by Clearing away 
the French pedantry and affectations which had prevailed too long, 
there appeared some hope of a revival of true national literature. 
But Herder, who exercised considerable influence onhis youngercon- 
temporaries, Goethe and Schiller, directed the literary enthusiasm 
of Iiis times toward foreign poetry and universal studies. Poetic 
taste was now expanded and improved, especially by the study of 
Shakspeare's dramas; but Goethe, after producing one drama, 
' Götz,' in a national style, turned to write reflective poetry; and 
Schiller, who was in some respects the most national of German 
poets, was led by the prevailing tendency of his times to study the 
general rather thanthe particular — the cosmopolitan rather than 
the national style. Whatever the advantages of universal studies 
may be in other departments of literature, their influence appears 
to have had an injurious eflect upon the qualities of energy and 
originality which belong to poetry of the highest class. It appears 
reasonable and desirable that every nation, while cultivating an 
acquamtance with foreign literature, should preserve its own dis- 
tinct national style. This is the mode of fulfilling the great law of 

* The above remarks are applied chiefly to the general or poetical litcrature of this 
seventh period. Intrinsic value and excellence of style must be uiiited in classical 
productions ; but it is generally confesscd that even respectable German authors 
have still many things to learn regarding style. At the same time, we most readily 
admit that, for thoughtfulness and sincerity, for the number of important ideas 
which it has brought into circulation, modern German literature may justly claim 
the highest honour. 



nature, which preserves unity, and at the same time develops st 
rieh variety. Why should the expressions of poetic genius in 
various countries be less diversified than their climates and Orders 
of Vegetation? We neither expect nor wish to find in India the 
trees and grasses of our English Valleys. These remarks will be 
found especially applicable to modern German poetry. The open 
and reeeptive character of German genius, which has been so 
favourable to the development of a comprehensive philosophy 
and extensive historical knowledge, has prevailed over energy 
and originality in poetry. 

It woiüd be difficult to find a fairer example of the German lite- 
rary character than Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803). 
After reeeiving an education in medicine, he studied philosophy 
under Kant at Königsberg in 1762. He was subsequently engaged 
in several places as a teacher and a clergyman, nntil he was invited 
to join the circle of poets and other literarymen at Weimar, under 
the patronage of the Duke Karl Augustus. Here Herder displayed 
his universal interest in literature by producing a series of works 
on various subjects, but all marked by a noble and kinclly spirit of 
humanity. A treatise on the ' Origin of Language' (1770), an 
essay on ' Hebrew Poetry' (1782), and a work entitled ' Ideas for 
the Philosophy of Humanity' (1784-1791), besides many poetical 
pieces and critical writings, showed that Herder was prepared 
rather to comprehend and expound the thoughts of other authors, 
than to produce any work of striking original genius. Yet his 
Services in literature were considerable. He diffused through all 
his writings the influence of a kind, hopeful, and aspiring spirit, 
and found in literature no idle pastime, but a field for the exercise 
of all his humane sympathies. Whatever our opinion of Herder's 
genius may be, we must derive from his works a favourable im- 
pression of his personal character, and this will be confirmed by 
the memoirs of his life. In poetry, Herder's collections of populär 
ballads and translations from several languages are more remark- 
able than his original produetions. In his ' Voices of the People,* 
or ' Populär Ballads of Many Nations ' (1778), he showed his power 
of sympathising with, and appreciating, the various national tones 
of poetry. The ballads of Spain, Scandinavian legends, Scottish 
songs, and Hindoo fables found in Herder a genial interpreter; and 
his numerous versions and criticisms of foreign works encouraged 
that love of universal history which has produced many remark- 
able results in Germany. His original poems consist chiefly of 
parables, fables, and versions of old legends and traditions; but 
seldom rise above medioerity. The most noble feature in Herder's 
character was his constant striving, aecording to his belief, for all 
the highest interests of mankind. He did not employ literature 



as the means of satisfying individual ambition. When he dis- 
covered, as he thought, a want of benevolent earnestness in the 
writings of Iiis friend Goethe, he looked upon them with cold 
admiration; while he could overlook all the faults in another 
writcr, Jean Paul Richter, because he cordially participated in Iiis 
motives and sympathies. The melancholy by which Herder's later 
days were shadcd arose probably from his lofty and unfuhilled 
aspirations. In the decline of life, he often lamented that he had 
donc so little for the world, and exclaimed, 'Alas, my wasted 
life! 1 

Johann Wolfgang Goethe, a man of universal genius, was born 
at Frankfort-on-the-Maine in 1749. He gives a pleasant account 
of the studies of his boyhood in his work entitled ' Poetry and 
Truth.' At Strasburg, where he completed his studies, he gained 
the friendship of Herder. In 1773 he produced a populär drama 
entitled 4 Götz von Berlichingen,' and in the following year his 
sentimental novel of ' Werther's Sorrows,' which extended his Im- 
putation over Europe; but he afterwards repudiated both the taste 
and the immorality of this juvenile work. These writings attracted 
the attention of the Duke of Weimar, who invited Goethe to his 
court, and soon elevated him to an honourable position. After 
two years of travel in Italy, he produced, between 1787 and 1790, 
his dramatic poems, ' Iphigenie,' ' Egmont,' ' Tasso,' and ' Faust,' 
beside many lyrical and occasional poems. In 1794 he formed a 
lasting friendship with his rival Schiller. He continued writing 
poems, novels, criticisms, and scientific essays to his eighty-second 
year. Yet he was never wholly devoted to retirement and study, 
but happily contrived to unite his literary activity with an enjoy- 
ment of the pleasures of society. Few authors have enjoyed a life 
so healthful and prosperous. In his later years he held the easy 
omce of prime-minister at Weimar, until the death of his patron 
in 1828. Goethe preserved his intellectual faculties ahnost to 
the latest hour of life, and died, after a short illness, at Weimar 
in 1832. 

As a poet, Goethe is chiefly known by his dramas, 'Faust,' 
\ Tasso,' and ' Egmont,' his lyrical and occasional poems, and his 
domestic epic entitled 'Hermann and Dorothea.' The lyrical 
poems and ballads are remarkable for clear and melodious versifi- 
cation, but are not rieh in human interest. In his domestic epic, 
"he solved the poetic problem of observing all the laws of the epic 
style in a short poem, which contains only the adventures of a 
summer's day, while its sole result is the betrothal of a young 
farmer, Hermann, with an emigrant maiden, Dorothea. The inte- 
rest of this poem depencls in a great measure on the moral reflec- 
tions which are pleasantly interwoven with the narrative. The 



plot is clear and simple, and tlie few characters introduced are well 
described in an indirect style. A humorous parody on the style 
of Homer sometimes characterises the versification. It may be 
observeel, as an instance of diversity of tastes, that while this 
poem has been admired as a classical produetion by many German 
critics, some translations have failed to please English readers. 
We may assign, as a reason, that not only in this poem, but also in 
the other writings of Goethe, there is a want of those adventures 
and vivid interests to which the English taste is accustomed in 
works of fiction. On this defect a modern critic * makes the fol- 
lowing observations : — 

' The absence of everything like an energetic practical life in Ger- 
many during our times, has no doubt occasioned the speculative ten- 
dency of our writers. Goethe, the clearest and most comprehensive 
genius -which our country has produced, appears to have been so en- 
dowed by nature, that he had only to choose in what department of 
art, literature, or science he would excel. He chose poetry as the 
best mode of expression for Iiis universal sympathies ; and if he had 
found in Iiis country an object on which to exercise his imagination, 
a vigorous national life and character, worthy of poetic celebration, 
he would have continued to write in the populär dramatic style which 
is found in his " Götz von Berlichingen." But our times afforded no 
materials for such poetry, and consequently even Goethe feil into a 
reflective strain. For this reason he Stands so far below Shak- 
speare in variety of materials and energy of style.' 

This passage by no means gives an adequate explanation of the 
wide distinetion between the English dramatist and Goethe; but 
it partly aecounts for the reflective character of the latter poet. 

The first part of ' Faust ' is the poem by which the fame of this 
author has been most widely extended. Though incomplete, 
it is remarkably original, and suggests hnportant reflections on 
human character and destiny. The narrative is partly founded on 
the old legend of 4 Faust the Magician.' We are introduced to the 
hero at the moment when he expresses his despair of arriving at 
any valuable results after years of abstruse study. He condemns 
his books and philosophical instruments in bitter terms. He has no 
longer any delight in the pursuits of intellectual life. In this mood 
of mind, he is lifting a cup of poison to his lips, when the sound 
of church-bells and the voices of choristers, hailing the mornmg of 
Easter Sunday, recall to his mind recollections of childhood and 
its innocent joys. He puts aside the poison cup, and exclaims — 

< Sound out, sweet bells ! ye call me back to life !' 

This is the turning-point in the history of Faust. He has seen 

* P. A. Pfizer. 



the error of his previous mystical studies, and now wishes to begin 
a new career of life; but is dubious respecting its nature. At this 
crisis he unhappily meets his evil genius, Mephistopheles, who 
persuades him to abandon all philosophy, and to enjoy the sen- 
suous pleasures of the world. Faust yields to this advice, and after 
passing through many fantastic adventures, ends his career in crhiie 
and misery. Many parts of this poem are written in such a mys- 
tical vein, rather intimating than distinctly expressing reflections, 
that various readers may derive from it various lessons. It teaches 
that clear intellectual views are a great support of virtue and hap- 
piness ; that, on the other side, a mind füll of vague ambition and 
immoderate desires may easily be led into moral evil; and that 
true freedom can be found only in subjection to reasonable laws. 
These thoughts are frequently expressed in various forms in 
Goethe's writings. The second part of ' Faust 1 is remarkable 
only as a specimen of varied and harmonious versification, of 
which a considerable part was written when the poet was more 
than eighty years old. In this respect it may be regarded as a 
literary curiosity. A passage from the opening of this poem is 
subjoined: — . 


1 Faust. The pulses of my life beat freshly now, 

White mild ethereal dawn enfolds my brow, 

The earth, with quiet sleep refreshed all night, 

Through open pores breathes out a new delight. 

How all things long to live ! and keen desire 

Awakes in me, for ever to aspire : 

In glimmering sheen the world is wrapt around, 

With thousand-voiced life the forests sound; 

Along the vale the misty streaks are drawn, 

And light darts down where moimtain chasms yawn ; 

And leafy twigs from misty clefts bloom out, 

On buds and blooms fresh pearls are dropped about, 

Hue after hue, gleams from the dusky ground, 

And paradise is opened all around ! 

Upwards my glance ! the mountain-peaks are glowing, 
For us the signs of glorious day-birth showing ! 
Glad sooner to enjoy the eternal light, 
That later beams on our enraptured sight ; 
Now a bright glance awakes the mountain-green, 
With gradual spread fills all the vales between, 
And now bursts forth ! and, dazzled at the day, 
With aching eyes I turn myself away. 
So 'tis with us when fond hopes, cherished long, 
Upheld through storms of contradiction strong, 



To ripc fulfilment suddenly are grown, 
And gates of paradise are open thrown, 

So let the sun beliind ine blaze a wliile, 

As here I meet Iiis fair reflected smile ; 

Yon waterfall, with genial gladness, sce 

Burst through tlie rocky cleft in rapturous glee ; 

From leap to leap, a thousand streams outpouring, 

Mid foam-clouds over foam-clouds lightly soaring. 

How glorions, bcaming through tlie misty air, 

The changeful-during rainbow's colours there ! 

Now clear outshining, now tliey softly fade, 

Lost for a moment in tlie misty shade : 

"Well paints tlie varying Low our life's endeavour, 

For ever clianging, yet tlie same for ever.' 

In attempting to give a fair general estimate of this versatile 
author we encounter a curious difficulty. Two facts appear which 
at first sight are not easily reconcilable. It is certain that Goethe 
Jias long been esteemed, by the most intellectual of bis country- 
men, as a man of remarkable and extensive genius. If proof of 
this fact were required, it would be found in numerous volumes of 
comments and criticisms on his writings. On the other side, it is 
well known that several fair translations of Goethe's principal 
poems have appeared in England without making any great and 
permanent impression. The English reacler natnrally asks, ' Where 
is the work which displays the greatness of this celebrated author? 
"Where is the drama that can be placed fairly beside Hamlet? or 
where is the prose fiction that may be ranked with the works of 
Scott?' We presume that the German critic will not pretend to 
meet these demands; yet he still maintains that Goethe was a 
great man in literature. Here isa difficulty; for it would evidently 
be presumptuous to say eithcr that German critics have made a 
mountain of a molehill, or that English readers are altogether 
wrong in taste. To solve the contradiction, it must be observed 
that Goethe Avas a voluminous writer, and that he extended Iiis 
sympathies over almost every department of literature ; but did not 
concentrate his faculties in any single work which can be named as 
a füll illustration of his genius. The German critic and the Eng- 
lish reader form their judgmcnts from two different points of view. 
The latter looks for one distinct work on which to found an 
author's fame, while the former makes a survey of the manifold 
proofs of genius contained in a shelf-ful of books, beside many 
letters and conversations. He finds scattered through all these 
writings a series of original and refined views of life, society, and 
literature, and from these he concludes that the author was a man 



of capacious genius. The fame of an Englisli author may supply 
an illustration of this case. Every one numbers Samuel Johnson 
among the heroes of literature ; yet how few have read his works ! 
It would be difficult to point to any one of his writings which con- 
tains a füll proof of his greatness. But thousands have read with 
pleasure Boswell's book, and have gathered from its scattered 
notices their estimate of Johnson's genius. Goethe, unfortunately, 
found no competent Boswell; but this deficiency might be partly 
supplied, even now, by a judicious selection of passages from his 
works, letters, and conversations, which would be the most likely 
vehicle to extend his fame. Two or three short passages from 
Goethe's ' Tasso ' may serve as specimens of the beauties which 
might be selected from Iiis writings : — ■ 


' Though all the gods assembled to bring gifts 
Around the cradle of this sapient man, 
Alas ! the Graees surely stayed away ; 
And he who has not their endearing gifts, 
May be a good and prudent counsellor, 
But never can he be a bosom-friend.' 


* Tasso. O what a word my Princess speaks to me ! 

That golden time — ah ! whither has it fled? 

Por which the heart so often yearns in vain ! 

When o'er the cheerfui earth the sons of men 

In gladsome companies with freedom strayed ; 

When in the flowery field the ancient tree 

Shaded the shepherd and the shepherdess ; 

When o'er the purest sands the Naiades 

Guided at will the clear and gentle rills ; 

The harmless snake wound through the grass his way ; 

The daring fawn, by the brave youth attacked, 

Fled to the wood, and every creature roaming, 

And every bird that carolled in the air, 

Proclaimed to men — " Live freely as you please ! " 

Princess. My friend, the Golden Age has passed away, 
And yet good minds can bring it back again, 
Yea, to confess to you my firm belief, 
That golden time of which the poets sing 
Was never more a truth than it is now. 
Or, if it ever was, 'twas only so 
That it may always be restored again. 
Still close together true congenial souls, 
And share the joys of all this beauteous world. 



Only your motto, Tasso, I would change, 
And rather say : " Live truly as you ought ! " 


' I know him well ; for he is easily known — 
Too proud to hide himself— to-day, perhaps, 
He sinks into himself, as if the world 
Were all enclosed within his Single bosom, 
While all things round him vanish from his sight. 
Then suddenly, as if some secret spark 
Of grief, or joy, or anger, lit the mine, 
He breaks forth to reform the world about him. 
Then will he seize on all, and master all — 
The world must move accordant with his thoughts, 
And, in a moment, to perfection come 
The gradual growth of many centuries ; 
While evils, that require the patient band 
Of labour, for long years, for their removal, 
Must vanish in the lightning of his eye. 
He of himself demands the impossible, 
That he may next demand the same from others. 
The final cause of all things in a glance 
He longs to comprehend : what scarce can come 
To one mind in a million, he would have : 
But he is not the man — he falls, at last, 
Just as he was, into himself again.' 

Friedrich Schiller was born at Marbach in 1759. Of the 
poet's father we have nothing remarkable to teil ; but his mother 
was an amiable and imaginative woman. The most important 
event of his youth, which was destined to have great influence 
upon his career, was his admission, at the age of fourteen, into 
the Military Academy established at Stuttgard by the Duke of 
Würtemberg. This was an Institution of diy and rigid discip- 
line, against which Schiller rebelled. He read Wieland's Shak- 
speare, and solaced himself in the world of poetry, revealing itself 
to him in startling contrast with the didl routine to which he was 
bound. He was secretly educating himself as a poet, and prepar- 
ing to astonish the German world with his tragedy ' The Robbers.* 
At the age of twenty-two, he gave to the world this wild drama, 
in which his own longings for intellectual liberty had found a tur- 
bulent and exaggerated expression. The drama found a public 
ready to receive it, with all its wildness and crudity, as the pro- 
duction of a vigorous and revolutionary genius; but it brought 
upon the head of its youthful writer the censure of the pedantic 
and arbitrary Duke of Würtemberg, who was naturally grieved 
to see his orderly Academy produce such an unclassical work. 



Tliere is some excuse for the duke's censure ; for the clrama is 
füll of the exaggeration and bad taste which might be expected 
from an ardent young poet educated as Schiller had been. But 
Schiller had visited the theatre at Mannheim, and had seen 
his play represented and received with the greatest enthusiasm. 
This snccess prompted him to make an escape from the Academy, 
and to try his fortune as a theatrical author. Accompanied by a 
young musician named Streicher, and with only twenty-three florins 
in his pocket, he set out one night for Mannhehn. The Grand 
Duke Paul of Russia paid a visit to Stuttgard, and all the 
authorities of the place were too füll of the excitement of 
royal preparations and illuminations to observe the departure of 
an obscure young poet. How little did the people of Stuttgard 
dream that night that one was leaving the city-gate, then only a 
romantic youth, a mere Student at the Academy, of whom they 
would one day become far proucler than of the glittering visit of 
the Grand Duke ! Yet so it has come to pass — that royal entrance 
is chiefly remembered at Stuttgard because on that night young 
Schiller ran away : and now the Stuttgard man, when he shows the 
1 lions ' of the place, points first of all to the statue of Friedlich 

When he arrived at Mannheim, which had been the scene of his 
theatrical glory, he alarmed the manager of the theatre by con- 
fessing that he had fled from Stuttgard, and had set the duke at 
defiance, and that his sole hope of making a new step onward in life 
lay in a manuscript play — ' Fiesco.' Meier, the manager, listened 
to this play, read by the young poet, and in amazement asked 
Streicher—' Is Schiller really the author of " The Robbers ?" ' It 
seems that Schiller, at that time, like our own Thomson, read his 
own productions in a disadvantageous style. It required some 
time to fit this new play for the stage. Meanwhile, Schiller's 
purse was shrmking, and he had left some debts behind him at 
Stuttgard. He thought it prudent to remove farther from the 
forsaken capital of Würtemberg; and accordingly again set out 
on travel with his faithful friend the young musician. On the 
journey Schiller's strength was exhausted, and he lay down, sick 
and weaiy, in a wood, while his friend, equally poor and prospect- 
less, watched beside him. Reiterated disappointments vexed him 
with regard to his theatrical prospects; but just when he was 
feeling the bitterness of 1 a world without a friend,' he received a 
welcome invitation from a lady who deserves to be honourably 
mentioned in his biography. Madame von Wolzogen offered for the 
shelter of the young poet a house which she possessed at Bauer- 
bach, a village near Meiningen. Soon afterwards, the ofFended 
duke left the poet unmolested to follow his self-chosen career, 



and Schiller was appointed Poet to the Theatre at Mannheim. 
Now he had gained a Station in the world comparatively satis- 
factory. The circumstances of the material man act upon the 
intellectual man in a greater degree than can be imagined by 
those whose lives have known no great changes. Schiller, now 
settled, with a salary, however small, regulär, and with a way to 
farther snccess open before him, feit no longer that polemic enthu- 
siasm from which ' The Robbers ' had started forth to frighten the 
world. The next important step in Schüler's life was his visit to 
Weimar, the residence of Goethe, Herder, and Wieland. He was 
soon so miich delighted with the society of this little German 
Athens, that he determined to make it Iiis home. Here he be- 
came acquainted with his future wife, Charlotte von Lengefeld, 
who resided with her mother at Rudolstadt, and sometimes visited 
Weimar. In the spring of the next year he chose a residence in 
the valley of Rudolstadt near the house of the Lengefelds. This 
was a happy part of his life. His momings were given to study, 
and his evenings were spent in a circle of friends. 

Now also, by slow steps, that friendship was formed between 
Schiller and Goethe which had a highly favourable influence on 
the development of their respective characters. They were not 
too much alike to be friends. They had pursued the same object 
by different roads. Goethe had travelled along a very smooth 
road, and the soft scenery of his life's joumey had given an ex- 
pression of contentment and repose to his fine face. Schiller had 
been the striving man, and his worn features told of the time when 
' the world was not his friend.' These two remarkable men, who 
had hitherto belonged to different schools, became sincere friends, 
and generously helped each other in their literary designs. Their 
correspondence has been published, and is interesting to the 
Student. It was partly through Goethe's interest that Schiller re- 
ceived the appointment to the chair of Histoiy at the university 
of Jena; to which he had recommended hhnself by his ' History 
of the Revolt of the Netherlands. ' On entermg upon this new 
office, the poet was received with the wannest enthusiasm by the 
students of Jena. He had now found his place — the very Station 
for which his genius fitted him — and a prospect of happiness was 
opened before him. He enjoyed his labours at Jena, and, still 
more, his holidays at Rudolstadt. But soon afterwards, his health 
failed. In one of his letters to Goethe, he says — ' And now, 
when I have attained, as I believe, to such a degree of intellectual 
clearness, and have established in my mind such principles of art, 
that, if I might be spared, I could perhaps do something great 
and good, my bodily Constitution is threatened with decay.' 

It may be well to mention (as a warning to other students) that 



this failure of the poet's health may be partly attributed to Iiis 
habits of nocturna! study. He had built for liimself a little 
summer-house in a garden overlooking the Valley of the Saale, 
where he yielded himself to the luxury of poetic creation, chiefly 
during the silence of night. To sustain Iiis enthusiasm, he had 
reconrse to the excitement of wine, injurious to a man of fervid 
poetical temperament, m a degree not to be imagined by men of 
duller feelings. Such refreshments make the lamp of life flare 
away rapidly, and even the temporary lustre they seem to give 
is of a delusive nature. Goethe remarked that the questionable 
inspiration of wine might be tasted in some of Schiller's produc- 
tions at this period. Doering (one of our poet's biographers) teils 
us ' he had strong coffee or wine-chocolate, but more frequently a 
flask of old Rhenish or Champagne standing by his writing-desk. 
Often his neighbours heard him earnestly declaiming in the 
silence of the night; and some, who could easily overlook his 
Chamber from the height opposite his little garden-house, on the 
other side of the dell, might see him, now speaking loudly, and 
pacing hastily to and fro in his Chamber, then suddenly throwing 
himself down into his chair, and writing — now and then drinking 
from the glass beside his desk. In winter, he was at his desk until 
four, or eventive o'clock in the moming; in summer, until towards 

Soon after the publication of 1 Wallenstein,' the Duke of Weimar 
gave our poet a pension of 1000 dollars. But prosperity could not 
lull genius into indolence. Suggestions of new works called for 
fulfilment. The flower must open, the tree must grow to matu- 
rity, though, in so doing, it also hastens to decay. From 1799 to 
1801, Schiller produced his dramas, ' Maria Stuart,' the 4 Maid of 
Orleans, 1 the ' Bride of Messina,' and his fine ode ' The Song of 
the Bell.' He again visited the Körners at Dresden, and thence 
journeyed to Leipsic, where he was in the theatre at the Perform- 
ance of the ' Maid of Orleans,' and when the curtain feil, the 
audience shouted aloud ' Long live Frederick Schiller! ' 

In the spring of 1804, after a visit to Berlin, the poet suffered 
from a severe attack of his constitutional malady, from which he 
only faintly rallied; and about a year afterwards, the disease 
returned with fatal power. On the 28th of April, 1805, he was 
seized with fever, and lay for about a week, still cherishing hopes 
of life. On the 6th of May he feil into delirium. On the 7th 
he seemed restored to self-possession, and began to converse with 
his sister-in-law on ' the nature of tragedy.' At the beginning of 
this illness he had regretted the interruption it must occasion to his 
projected tragedy of ' Demetrius.' Now, on the night of the 7th ? 
his servant, watching by his bed, heard him reciting several lines 



froin the drama lipon which Iiis mind was still cngaged. In the 
evening of the next day, when Iiis sister-in-law asked him how he 
feit, he answered ' Calmer and calmer.' Then he longed to behold 
once more the setting sun ; they drew aside the curtains, and he 
looked, for the last time, with a poet's sympathy, on the great iight. 
The next day he was exhausted and speechless, and in the evening 
he cxpired. So died Frederick Schiller, aged 45 years. His lüe 
was short ; but it was a life — not a sleep. He had devoted himself 
to a great object, to win a high place among thepoets and intellec- 
tual heroes of his country ; he used the raeans of attaining this 
end ; he studied long, and feit deeply, esteeming Iiis vocation more 
than Iiis earthly life — and he gained his object — he was crowned 
with more than the adrairation, with the love of his people, and 
diedas he touched the goal. In the night of the llth of May, the 
poet's mortal remains were carried to the grave by twelve young 
men of the city ; but 1 several young artists and students,' says 
Doering, ' out of reverence for the dead, claimed a share in the 
ceremony.' It is pleasant to mention, in connection with Goethe 
and Schiller, their generous friend and patron, Karl August, the 
Duke of Weimar (1756-1828), a man of refined taste, who found 
his greatest delight in the society of men of genius. 

The poetical works of Schiller consist of several graphic ballads, 
didactic poems, dramas, and lyrical pieces. The celebrated ' Song 
of the Bell ' (1799) Stands ahnost alone as a successful attempt to 
miite poetry with the interests of daily life and industry. The 
poet describes the casting of a church-bell, and gives spirited out- 
lines of various scenes in human life, such as a marriage, a funeral, 
a conflagration, the outbreak of war, and the celebration of peace. 
This original and remarkable poem has been frequently translated 
into English, and may be regarded as a fair specimen of the 
author's genius. In Iiis didactic poem, 'The Artists,' Schiller 
recommends the study of the beautifui in poetry, sculpture, and 
painting. One of the purposes of this versified essay is to correct 
the notion that the love of beauty and cultivation of the fine arts 
must be opposed to Utility. It requires no great penetration to 
see that if human elevation and hnprovement is the end to which 
the useful is devoted, the fine arts must be esteemed as imme- 
diately tending to produce that result. The argument of the poem 
traces the ideas of goodness, truth, and beauty to one foimtain, 
and describes them as all mingling in one result. The 1 Walk ' is 
another didactic and descriptive poem, in which the writer gives 
the discursive meditations suggested by a walk in the country and 
the view of a city. He strays into the fields, and exults in the 
beauty of nature. After tracing the relations of man with nature, 
and describing the progress of civilisation, he is depressed by 



thoughts of the conflicts and disorders of society. From these re- 
flections he returns to the contemplation of nature, and the pocm 
closes with the following passage : — 


' But where am I ? My path is lost. I find 
Myself alone on wild and rocky ground: 
Gardens and hedge-rows all are left behind ; 

No trace of human life or toil is found ; 
But rude, uncultured hüls about me stand, 
And basalt piles wait for the sculptor's hand. 

The torrent from the mountain's melted snow, 
Foams over rocks, and roots of trees laid bare, 

And pours its waters in the dell below ; 

While o'er the desolate place, in the lone air, 

The eagle hangs, with outspread wings, on high, 

And knits the savage landscape to the sky. 

No winds can hither waft the faintest sound 
Of human joys or cares. Alone I seem, 

And yet am not alone. Thy arms Surround 
Thy child, maternal Nature ! 'Twas a dream 

Of human woes that led me far astray ; 

But now thy presence drives my fears away. 

From thee I drink once more a purer life ; 

The hopes of youth revive within my breast. 
The minds of men, in a perpetual strife, 

Revolve from age to age, and find no rest; 
"While nature, in unfading youth and beauty, 
Obeys one everlasting rule of duty. 

TJpon her constant bosom, ever green, 
Beneath her sky of never-fading blue, 

Lived all the generations who have been, 

And still her children find her fresh and new. 

And the same sun that, o'er some Grecian hill, 

Homer beheld, is shining on us still!' 

In Iiis lyrical ballads and romances, Schiller rises above the 
didactic and descriptive style. ' The Cranes of Ibycus,' and the 
1 Fight with the Dragon, 1 may be especially noticed as instances of 
graphic metrical narratives inspired with noble purposes. Schil- 
ler was an interesting man, a philosopher, an historian, and a 
critic, as well as a poet. He has often been spoken of in a collec- 
tive style, rather than criticised distinctly as a poet. For this 
reason, perhaps, several of bis poems, if strictly examined as pro- 
ductions of art, will be found inferior to the general estiniate of 



Schiller's gcnius, and deficient in simplicity, graphic clearness, and 
variety. Mr Carlyle has observed that in the general praise of 
this poet some of Iiis particular incrits liave been overlooked. On 
the other side, it may bc said that the poet's character has shed a 
lustre over his writings, which must fade in some degree when wo 
review them critically. Are his dramas, laying aside their poetic 
beauties and good sentiments, excellent as dramatic productions? 
Are Iiis lyrics pure and clear in their style? Such are the ques- 
tions which must be answered, in order to form a true estimate of 
Schiller as a poet. In his personal character he displayed fine 
qualities. His aspirations in literature were noble and benevolent. 
He regarded poetry especially as something far better than a 
trivial amusement — as the companion and cherisher of the best 
hopes and affections that can be developed in human life. In Iiis 
' Song of the Bell ' and other poems of similar tendency, he gave 
examples of pure poetry associated with the highest interests in 
a style which, if it had found successful followers, would have 
elevated the poetical literature of Germany above the rank which 
it now occupies. 

But, since the days of Goethe and Schiller, the movement in 
German poetry has been on the whole retrograde, and few recent 
productions can claim particular notice. It is impossible to de- 
scribe here all the contemporaries and successors of Schiller who 
have written pleasing verses, but have not produced poems of 
remarkable originality. A few selections will be sufficient to show 
the want of distinct character and interest in many modern versi- 
fiers. Though poetry is so far an object of taste, that the criticism 
of any writer may appear arbitrary to some readers, there are rules 
for the formation of judgment which are founded in nature, and 
have been approved by impartial public opinion. The compara- 
tively few poetical works which have been marked and preserved 
as classical productions, will be found generally to possess three 
united qualities — power of imaginatioii, beauty of style, and in- 
teresting import. In the last of these qualities recent German 
poetry is peculiarly deficient, as several of the following brief 
notices will show. 

Johann Heinrich Voss (1751-1826) was far more respectable 
as a self-educated man, and a translator of Homer and Virgil, than 
as an original poet. He delighted in writing descriptions of 
homely and commonplace objects, such as fowls in a farmyard, or 
even household cats, in long and tedious hexameter verses. In 
this style he produced a domestic idyl, ' Luise,' which was received 
by some with admiration, but by others with laughter. A few 
lines, describing a pic-nic party, will give an idea of its very 
homely character : — 



* Then spoke the mother, füll of care and bustle : — 
" Hans, bring the kettle ; licre we'll light the fire 
Where the cool wind will drive the snioke away. 
Where shall we sit ? Here, under this old bcech, 
Tins good old family tree, whose rind is markcd 
With all our names ! How large the letters grow ! 
This moss about the roots is like a pillow. 
Pleasantly sounds the plashing of the lake. 

Now, children, gather wood to boil the kettle ; 
Who would have pleasure, must have trouble too ; 
' He that would be a fish, must not fear water ! ' 
I know a fountain pure, and swcet, and cold ; 
Around its brink, they say, the fairies dance ; 
Thence I will draw the water. From this day 
"We'll give it a new name — Luises Spring /"' 

The verses of Friedrich Mätthison (1761-1831) seldom rise 
above mere description and sentiment, but are sometimes pleas- 
ing, as in the following spechnen : — 


* I long to see once more, before I die, 

The fields in which I wandere d when a child, 
Where all the happy dreams of opening life 
Around nie hovered. 

The rill, with banks of violets, that flowed 
Among the alders which my father planted, 
Would give me greater pleasure than the sight 
Of classic rivers ; 

And that low hill, crowned with a linden-tree, 
"Where, round and round, with hands together clasped, 
I and my playmates ran, would teil me more 
Than Alpine mountains !' 

Gaudenz Salis (1762-1834) was also a descriptive versifier, in 
some respects superior to Mätthison. Many names present them- 
selves here, such as Neuffer, Neubeck, Kosegarten, Blumauer, 
Gotter, Baggesen, and Thummel — all poetical writers of medio- 
crity. There are some good traits of nature in the verses of L. H. 
Gocking (1748-1828), and in the songs of Matthias Claudhjs 
(1740-1815), which still preserve a place in the populär memory. 
Several of the versifiers thus briefly noticed were associated with 
Voss, Burger, and the Brothers Stolberg, as partisans of a national 
school of poetry. 

Other writers endeavoured to revive a classical style of poetiy, 
but with little efiect. Augustus "Wilhelm Schlegel was more 
worthy of fame for Iiis tact and taste as a translator, especially of 



Shakspeare, than as an original poet. His antique drama, ( Ion,' 
like the 1 Alarcos ' of Iiis brother, possesses no true interest for 
modern times. Friedrich Schlegel wrote several elegant poems ; 
but his farae rests on his great Services as an historian of litera- 
ture. The unfortunate poet, Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843), 
reproduced, in a style often marked with cleamess and beauty, the 
ideas and images of antique Greek poetry. His character pre- 
sented an extreme instance of the results of visionary speculation ; 
for not only in his verses, but in his serious opinions, he rejected 
the religion, the manners and customs, and the literature of his 
native country, and attached himself to the ancient Grecians, whom 
he regarded as the models of mankind. Hölderlin feil into a con- 
dition of intellectual debil ity, in which he lived for the long space 
of forty-one years. Ernst Schulze (1789-1817) was remarkable 
chiefly for the melody of his language ; but devoted himself to a 
melancholy and monotonous strain of sentiment, fatal to the pro- 
duction of vigorous poetry. After losing, by early death, the 
young lady on whom he had placed his affections, he devoted his 
imaginative reveries to immortalise her name — Cecilia — in a long 
poem containing twenty cantos. 

In melody of versification, Friedrich Rückert (1789) is supe- 
rior to all his contemporaries ; but his numerous poems show that 
want of distinct interest which is found in many recent productions 
in verse. Rückert is not only a poet, but also an enthusiastic 
Oriental Student, and has made the German language flow in the 
metres and styles of the Persian poets with remarkable facility. 
He has also succeeded in didactic verse, giving the maxims of the 
ancient Brahmins of India in a laconic style. He accepts and ver- 
sifies the legends of many foreign countries, as if his native land 
was worn out as a poetical subject, and could supply no more 
materials on which to exercise invention. This partiality for 
foreign subjects is found in a great part of recent Gennan poetry, 
though lately political and patriotic lyrics have become fashion- 
able. The merit of Rückert's poems is so often confined to their 
external form, that many of them will not bear translation; but 
the followhig lines may give some idea of their flowing style : — 


' I long to build a city fair 
Under heaven's serenest air, 
Embosomed in a blooming wood, 
And laved by some transparent flood ; 
The focns Avhence life's gladdening beam 
Through all the land should freely stream ; 
Where life, as in a circle flowing, 
From centre to circumference going, 


Thencc to the middle-point again 
Should flow as rivcrs to the main. 
"Witliin the midst a kingly hand 
Should hold in unity the land, 
A hing with nobles round him spread, 
Like blossoms round a rose's head ; 
While through the kingdom every soul 
Should sharc the glory of the whole, 
Contented but a leaf to be 
Upon a healthy, blooming tree. 
From the throne a blessing Streaming, 
O'er the land the king's smile beaniing, 
J oy to every horae is bringing ; 
Labour bears Iiis burthen singing ; 
For every one throughout the land 
Gives every one a helping hand. 
Each is happy in Iiis part; 
The reaper sings with nierry heart, 
And from the throne a lustre shines 
Upon the dresser of the vines. 
Then the gentle arts shall come, 
And in my city find their home, 
Not dwell in dull seclusion lone, 
But in the streets and round the 

As friends of every one, shall stand, 
And throw their magic o'er the land. 
And not to please a pedant's taste 
The artist shall bis labour waste, 
But in the people's gladdened eyes 
Find bis labours' richest prize. 
There shall music's temple rise, 
And fill with harmony the skies ; 
And palaces, where art divine 
Makes earth in heavenly colours shine. 
The poets shall not teil their tales 
To moonlit woods like nightingales, 
Nor give the cheerful lyric strahl 
To old-world fables dull and vain, 
Of knights and saints in ancient days, 
Nor fill with idle dreams their lays ; 
But in the city bards shall dwell, 
By king and people honoured well ; 
And poetry, no idle art, 
Shall cheer the universal heart. 
There one shall show, with tragic hand, 
The hero's death for Fatherland ; 
Another, with a comic grace, 
"Will show the people their own face, 



And lyric poets with the lay, 
Shall gladden every festive day.' 

Augustus von Platen (179G-1835) resembled his frienc! 
Rückert in his partiality for foreign themes, and in the care with 
which he polished the style of his poems. He professed a contempt 
of his native country, and celebrated the beauty of Korne, Venice, 
and Naples. If the human interest of his poems had equalled 
their finish and gracefulness, they would be excellent productions ; 
but the chief merit of Platen consists in his imitation not only of 
the metres, but also of the style and spirit, of old classical poets, 
especially Horace. The following is a translation of a poem 
founded on an anecdote in the life of a great painter : — 


' 'Twas at the hour of evening prayer — 

The painter from Iiis easel rose, 
And gazed upon the picture there — 

How lifelike every aspect glows ! 

Hark ! — what can mean these sudden cries ? — 

A pupil comes with liasty tread, 
Enters the painter's room, and sighs, 

" Master, y our only son is dead ! 

" Alas ! Iiis beauty brought his doom ; 

He feil beneath a rival's band, 
And yonder, in the minster's gloom, 

The praying monks around him stand.'* 

Then Luca cried — " Oh, niisery ! 

Thus have I lived, and toiled in vain ! 
Tliis nioment takes away frorn me 

The fruit of all my labour's pain ! 

" What care I that my paintings' glow 

"With joy Cortona's people hail ? 
Or that Orvieto's church can show 

My ' Judgment,' making gazers pale ? 

" Nor fame, nor laureis round my brow, 
Can bind this wound, and heal my smart; 

Thy last, best consolation now, 
Bestow on me, beloved art ! " 

Straight to the church the master went — 
He shed no tears — he said no more — 

His pupil, guessing his intent, 

Beside him brush and palette bore. 



He steps into the minster. See ! 

From many a shrine bis paintings gleam : 
The monks their funeral litany 

Chant by the lamps' undying beam. 

He gazes on the beauteous dead ; 

Then all night in that solemn place 
He sits, with colours near bim spread, 

To paint the dear boy's sleeping face. 

He sits and paints beside the hier, 

With father's beart and painter's skill, 

Till morning dawns— " I bave bim here — 
Bury the corpse whene'er you will."' 

Adalbert von Chamisso (1781-1839) was by birth a French- 
man, whose parents left France during the Revolution. Adalbert 
attended a Russian expedition to the Arctic circle, and after his 
return, resided at Berlin, and gave his attention to literature. He 
wrote a well-known fantastic romance, which contains some traits 
of his experience as an exile, under the title of ' Peter Schlemihl.' 
His poems show a partiality for gloomy topics. 

The national tone of German poetry has been sustained by 
Ludwig Uhland (1787) in many romances and ballads, marked 
by very simple diction, which may be placed among the most 
natural and genuine poetry, though not of the highest order, 
which recent years have produced. Indeed these ballads so 
fairly represent the character of a large department of German 
poetry, that one of considerable length may claim a place here : — 


' The lady Berta in the cave, deplored her bitter lot ; 
Her darling Roland, glad and brave, was playing near the spot. 

"King Charles, my honoured brother still! alas, I ned from 
thee ! 

For love I left thy princely court, and thou art wroth with me. 

** Oh, Milon ! oh, my busband dear ! the waters swallowed thee— 
For love I left all other joys ; yet love has fled from me ! 

" Come hither, Roland, darling boy, I'll clasp thee to my heart ; 
My love, my pride is all in thee — my sole delight thou art ! " 

King Charles, within the gilded hall, sat down to royal fare, 
And waiters served up rosy wine and dainty dishes there. 

And every heart was gladdened there with music bold and 
brave : 

Alas ! the music could not cheer the lonely forest-eave ! 


And in the palace outer-court sat beggars blithe and gay, 
Who loved far more the ineat and drink than all the minstrels' 

The king looked through the open door upon the beggars there ; 
And from the ragged crowd came forth a stripling bold and fair. 

The boy was clad in motley rags, bat had a noble face ; 

He pushed Iiis way among the crowd, to reach the dining-place. 

He stepped into the princely hall as careless as in play, 
Thence took a dish of dainty meat, and carried it away. 

Then thonght the king, "a daring trick ! " as on the boy he gazed; 
But silently he let him go— his courtiers were amazed. 

A little while had passed away — again the boy came up, 

Even to the place where sat the king, and seized the royal cup. 

u Ha ! " cried the king, " the trick is bold, you little daring thing ! • 
But Roland held the golden cup, and looked up at the king. 

The king, at first, looked dark enough, then laughed in nierry 
mood — 

" You walk into my gilded hall as if into a wood. 

* You take the dainty dishes, boy, like apples from a tree, 
And wine as you would water take from any fountain free ! n 

" The country maid may water drink, on apples she may dine ; 
My mother must have royal fare, and drink the rosy wine." 

" Ha ! is she, then, a noble dame ? "Where lives she ? — teil me 
where ; 

She has a Castle, I suppose, and many servants there ? 

" Teil me, who is her chamberlain ? who is her butler, teil ? " 

" My right band is her chamberlain ; my left band serves as well." 

"Who is the warder on her tower?" "Myeyes have that em- 

* Who is the minstrel of her court ? " " My mouth," replied the 


"Your lady has a servant brave, in motley livery dight ; 
For like a rainbow is your dress, you little, daring wight. 

" Sure such a noble dame as yours the king must long to see — 
Three gentlemen, and ladies too, this lady bring to me ! " 

Young Boland, with the golden cup, walked quickly from the 

And knights and ladics followed him — (the king would have his 



Then in a littlc time, returned, the knights and ladies came, 
And with them walked into the court the royal, hanished dame. 

"Good heaven! who comes?" the king exclaimed in strangely 
altered mood ; 

* And have I mocked in open hall my own — the royal blood ? 

" Good heaven ! my sister Berta, pale, in pilgrim's mantle gray, 
To come into my royal court in beggarly array ! " 

Then Berta, speechless, faint, and pale, beside Iiis feet feil down ; 
The royal anger rose again, Iiis forehead wore a frovvn ; 

And Berta kneeled upon the ground amid the gazing ring, 
While Roland, with a fearless brow, said " Uncle " to the king. 

Then spoke the king with milder tone, " Rise, Berta ! tremble not ! 
Since, for the sake of this brave boy, our quarrel is forgot ! " 

Then up rose Berta in her joy, " Thanks, brother ! thanks ! " said 
she ; 

" And this brave boy shall pay you well for all your grace to me ! 

"For he shall grow up like the king, a hero in his day, 

And banners many-coloured bring from vanquished lands away : 

u Shall take the spoils from many kings, with strong and daring 

And riches, honour, and renown, win for his mother-land ! " ' 

Gustavus Schwab (1792) may be named as one of many asso- 
ciates of Unland who have celebrated in their ballads the local 
traditions of their native country. Such ballads, having some 
populär associations, have been received with favour in Germany, 
but have little of general and permanent interest. We know not 
where to look for a German poet who gives the traits of real life 
among the people, and especially the peasantry, of his country, 
in the style of George Crabbe or Robert Burns. 

The writers of patriotic songs may be mentioned next to 
Uhland's school of poetry, with which they are connected by 
their national tone. Among these, none have equalled the martial 
lyrics of Moritz Arndt (1769), which are clear and spirited, and 
may be truly called ' songs for soldiers.' But the celebrated glee 
of ' Fatherland,' by the same writer, is more worthy of a lasting 
reputation. A few verses will show its character : — 


' Where is the German's Fatherland ? 
Is't Prussia, or the Swabian land? 



Where by the Rhine the grapes are growing? 
Or where the Baltic waves are flowing? 

" Oh no ! Oh no ! 
Far wider is our Fatherland !" 

"Where is the German's Fatherland ? 
Declare to us where is that land. 
Is it the soil of William Teil ? 
" That land, that people please nie well ; 

But no ! Oh no ! 
Far wider is our Fatherland!" 

"Where is the German's Fatherland ? 
Declare to us where is that land. 
*' As far as 'neath the spreading skies 
Our German hymns to God arise — 

All that wide land, 
Brave brothers, call our Fatherland ! 

" All Germany we call our own ! 
May God behold it from Iiis throne ; 
And give to all who in it dwell 
True hearts to love and cherish Aveil 

All this wide land — 
All Germany, our Fatherland !"' 

Among patriotic poets, Theodor Körner must not be forgotten. 
He was born at Dresden m 1791, and after receiving a favourable 
education, resided at Viemia, where he wrote with remarkable 
facility several dramatic pieces entitled 'Zriny,' 'Rosamund,' 
' Hedwig,' and 1 Expiation.' His circumstances and prospects were 
flattering, but he sacrificed them in favour of what he believed to 
be the sacred interest of his country. Leaving his pleasant studies, 
he joined a troop of vohmteers, and animated his comrades by 
his inartial songs, of which the most remarkable, 'The Song of 
the Sword,' was written only a few hours before the young poet's 
death. He was shot during a skirmish with an ambuscade in 
August 1813. His name is remembered with affection in his 
native country. Maximilian Schenkendorf (1783-1819) wrote 
several patriotic lyrics, which may be ranked with Amdt's songs. 

The only novelty of any importance in poetry during late years, 
is found in the political songs of Herwegh, Hoffmann, and other 
versifiers. But these lyrics are more remarkable as signs of poli- 
tical tendencies than as poetical productions. Their tone is gene- 
rally violent, and expresses the impatience of young minds, who 
have no faith in any gradual and pacific progress of liberty and 
social improvement, and who therefore write martial songs, and 



proclaim the necessity of civil war. It is certainly a serious sign 
of the times, that the minds of a very large number of educated 
young men in Germany are entirely alienated from all the insti- 
tutions, both civil and religious, of their natiye land. In our own 
country, where fair means of discussion on all public questions 
are abundant, it appears as a mere degradation of poetry to 
employ it in politieal declamations ; but in Germany, the censor- 
ship of the press seems to have impelled many to write songs on 
topics which shoiüd be discussed in newspapers. Among the 
writers of these lyrics, few have shown poetical talent of any value. 
Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810) has written two volumes of 
miscellaneous poems ; but many of them contain little more than 
descriptions of foreign scenery, while only a few, like the following, 
unite social interest with poetical imagination : — ■ 


' I cannot leave the busy Strand ! 

I gaze upon you standing there, 
And giving to the sailoi-'s hand 

Your household furniture and wäre. 

Men from their Shoulders lifting down 
Baskets of bread, with careful hand, 

Prepared from German corn, and brown 
From the old hearth in Fatherland ; 

Black Forest maids, with sunburnt faces, 
Slim forms, and neatly-braided hair, 

Come, each within the shallop places 
Her earthen pitchers all, with care. 

These vessels carried oft to fill 

At the familiär village spring, 
When by Missouri all is still, 

Visions of home will round them cling. 

The rustic well, with stones girt round, 
The low stone wall they bended o'er, 

The hearth upon the family ground, 
The mantelpiece with all its störe — 

All will be dear, when, in the West, 
These pitchers deck the log-hut lone ; 

Or when reached down, that some brown guest 
May quench his thirst, and travel on. 

Tired in the chase, the Cherokees 

Will drink from them on hunting ground ; 

No more, from glad grape-gleaning, these 

Shall come with German vine-leaves crowned ! 



Why, Wanderers, must you leave your land ? 

The Neckervale has wine and corn: 
Tall firs in our Black Forest stand ; 

In Spessart sounds tke Alpers körn. 

'Mid foreign woods you'll long in vain 

For your paternal mountains green, 
For Deutschland's yellow fields of grain, 

And kills of vines with purple sheen ! 

Tke vision of your olden time, 

Of all you leave so far behind, 
Like some old legendary rhyme, 

Will rise in dreanis, and haunt your mind. 

The boatman calls— depart in peace ! 

God keep you, man, and wife, and child ! 
Joy dwell with you, and fast increase 

Your rice and maize in yonder wild V 

CJount Aueesperg, Geibel, DenTtElstedt, Beck, and Halm 
may be mentioned as poetical writers who have enjoyed con- 
siderable popularity. Many other names might be added here, 
and some of them perhaps are not inferior in value to several 
which have been noticed; but the popularity of recent poetry 
has depended so much upon accidental excitements and temporary 
tastes, that, in giving a füll account of poetical literature during 
the last ten years, it wonLd be necessary to mention many pro- 
ductions which will probably be soon forgotten. This section 
may, however, be extended by a brief notice of one poetical 
writer whose style is peculiar. Leopold Scheeee (1784) is one 
of the few who have gained popularity by didactic verse. His 
1 Layman's Breviary ' and ' Vigils ' contain the doctrines derived 
from philosophical speculations. many of which would be con- 
denmed as extravagant and vlsionary by an English judgment. 
They are, however, occasionally interspersed with didactic passages, 
in which good lessons are conveyed in an enthusiastic style, as in 
the following lines : — 


1 " This dull, dark strife with unillumined souls, 
Ending not with the day, but every mom 
Afresh returning for another day — 
Such warfare makes at last the noblest mind 
Heavy and hopeless. Earnestly I wish 
'Twere done, that I might rest, and silent be ! " 
So speak you. But distinguish well the truth. 
The conflict is not gloomy. Grieved you see 



Around you but a dull distracted housc, 

The old false world with evil deeds, wrong words, 

Heavily pressing on all noble minds. 

The conflict is right clear, in daylight waged, 

With brightness ever pressing on the gloom ! 

Nor is your conflict with irrationals 

(For all would wiser be, and every one 

Has faculties for better — wiser — growing) : 

See, then, your only conflict is with men, 

And your sole strife is to defend and teach 

The unillumined, who, without such care, 

Must perish. Every uncnlightened man 

Commends himself to you, even as your child. 

How easily for him and for yourself 

Life's burthen may be lightened, by your words 

Opening the spring of truth in his own breast, 

And cleansing out the roots of all his errors ; 

Destroying, even with a single word, 

A coming harvest of injurious weeds ! 

If, then, the Better never must grow weary, 

But always think of better, and fulhl it, 

How shall the Wise be weary of his task 

To show the right, and for the truth contend ? 

How shall the heart of the good man grow weary, 

Though hand and tongue are worn out in his work ? 

And how can gentleness be ever weary? 

(For all true love is gentle, falling on 

Men's souls as gentle rains upon the earth). 

How can you e'er grow weary of the truth ? 

Weary of gentleness and genuine love ? 

Be firm and happy, therefore, in the strife ! 

And keep love in your heart all life's day long, 

Till like the eternal stars its beams are spread.' 

The impossibility of noticing here all the writers of verse who 
have gained temporary reputations from the beginning of Goethe's 
career to the present time, is at once explained by the fact, that 
their number would amount to two or three hundred. Perhaps 
the name of Ludwig I., ex-king of Bavaria, should be added 
to the above notices of minor poets ; but the king will be re- 
membered rather for his munificent patronage of artists than on 
account of the three or four volumes of his smooth and amiable 
verses which have been published. Among these poems we find a 
series of epigrams addressed to ' the seventeen best artists of Ba- 
varia;' such men as Cornelius, Schnorr, Kaulbach, and Schwan- 
thaler — a pleasing instance of royalty paying homage to genius. 
On the general merit of the king's verses we may accept Iiis own 
judgment, as given in an epigram addressed to himself: — 



' Of all your verses, few would have been read, 
Had you not worn a crown lipon your head.' 

Yet in one point of view these poems are noticeable. A melan- 
choly tone pervades them : the writer predicts a general decay of 
poetry and other imaginative pleasures ; he feels that the life and 
interest of old thnes cannot be revived, and, at the same time, is un- 
able to keep pace with the movements of the present age. This is 
the condition of many other minds. Among the unpoetical features 
of our time, the ex-king especially notices 'railways, 1 as destined 
to spread prose, dulness, and civil equality over the whole world : — 

' The saying that the world must end in smoke 
Seems true in these last days of steam and coko, 
When the loud engine, on the iron rails, 
O'er ancient ties and sympathies prevails. 
Hömel ess, and counting love of home a dream, 
Frorn land to land we pass in clouds of steam, 
For ever on the same, dull, level ground, 
With universal sameness all around.' 

It must be admitted that the old scenery of German poetry, con- 
sisting of ruined Castles, abbeys, the armour and costumes of chi- 
vahy, and other relics of the Middle Ages, seems to be worn out, 
while few attempts to introduce new features have been successful. 
It must require some time before the old traditional and poetical 
sympathies which have belonged to undisturbed nature — the sea, 
the mountains, legendary Valleys, and gray remains of antiquity — 
become flrmly attached to rails, locomotives, and stations. The 
human heart does not always move in accordance with the mind. 
Our own Poet of the Lakes does not love to think of Ambleside 
as 1 a Station,' and would not share in the enthusiasm (perhaps arti- 
ficial) with which Count Auersperg, a modern Austrian poet, thus 
celebrates railways : — 


' I hear sad hymns, and downcast faces see — ■ 

Our prophet-bards have had a boding dream, 
A mournful vision of dear poetry 

For ever banished from the earth — by steam. 

What ! had your crooked roads, then, such a grace, 
That long, straight lines must grieve a poet's eye ? 

Is just five miles an hour the poet's pace ? 
And must not Pegasus attempt to fly ? 

Out with your coach, as in a happier day, 

Harness again your galled and spavined team 

(But keep within the old ruts all the way), 
And chase the goddess borne away by steam ! 



Or take a boat, and row well (if you can) 
After a steamer on the swelling sca, 

And never murmur though the waterman 
Can teil you nothing of your poetry. 

Or man a ship, and every random gust 

Sent from the wind-god catch within your rag, 

As gladly as a beggar some stale crust 
Takes with a bow, and drops into his bag. 

Or, if 'tis calm, 'twill quite poetic be 

There, as if ice-bound, on a summer's day — 

Ferhaps a dolphin rising from the sea 
Of poetry may something have to say ; 

While I, along the vine-clad, rocky Rinne, 
On a black swan, the steamer, proudly swim, 

And lifting up a cup of golden wine, 

Sing loudly human art's triumphal hymn ; 

And gladly celebrate the master-hand 

That seized the fire-flame, like Prometheus old, 

And, through the black shaft 'mid the grassy land, 
Dragged up the iron from Earth's rocky hold : 

And gave command to both — " Ye shall not rest 
Till striving man is from his bondage free ; 

Go, fire, and bear man's burthens, east and west, 
And, wheels of iron, on his errands flee ! " 

See how they go, with thunder, through the land — 
Beneath the steam-clouds heavy masses flee ; 

So marches on an elephantine band, 

With towers and battlements, to victory. 

See, from Iiis seat beneath the shady tree, 
The village patriarch from his sleep arise, 

And throwing up his nightcap hastily, 

Share in Iiis grandsons' rapture and surprise ! 

And, 'mid some fears, he hopes for better days, 
For which, in youth, he ventured in the fight — 

" May this new power," the village patriarch prays, 
" Establish Fatherland and freedom's right ! " ' 


It may be concluded, from the description of Goethe's genius 
already given, that he had no ambition to produce any populär 
acting dramas. His ' Tasso ' (1790) has no good qualities for the 
stage, but is a poem of psychological interest, founded on a simple 
event — a dispute between Tasso the poet, and Antonio, a courtier 



cmployed by Duke Alphonso. From this dispute the writer de- 
rives a useful lesson, which is conveyed to the reader in an elegant 
style. We leam from the errors of Tasso that the man endowed 
with poetical genius cannot live happily if he cultivates only Iiis 
imagination, neglecting to exercise patience, self-possession, and 
sound judginent. Goethe's representation of the relation existing 
between the unfortunate Tasso and his patron Alphonso, differs 
very much from that given in the indignant stanzas of £ Clrilde 

One of the favourite maxims of our author was, that a poet, 
like every other artist, for his due and true development, needs 
education; and this truth is illustrated in the drama now before 
us. In his correspondence with Zelter the musician, the author 
gives us the following observatious, which deserve consideration : — 
4 To have cultivated our natural gifts in an artist-like maimer 
remains one of our most satisfactory feelings ; but, at the present 
time, it has a greater merit than in former days, when beghmers 
still believed in such things as scJiools, rules, and mastership, and 
modestly submitted themselves to the grammar of their art and 
science, of which the youthful aspirants of our day wiE not hear 
a word. Our artists have for thirty years been under the illusion 
that a natural genius can form itself, and a swarm of passionate 
amateurs encourage them in this idle notion. A hundred times 
have I heard artists boast that " they owed everything to them- 
selves" I generally listen to this with patience; but sometimes 
I am provoked to adcl, " Yes ; and the result is just what might 
be expected." What, let me ask, is a man in and of himself ? ' 

The lesson of the drama is this — that the poet cannot fulfil 
his duty by cultivating merely his imagination, however splendid 
and powerful it may be. Like all other men who would be good 
and great, he must exercise patience and moderation, must learn 
the value of self-denial (a virtue better styled self-possession), 
must endure hardships and contradictions of the real world, con- 
tentedly occupy Iiis place, with its pleasures and its pains, as a 
part in the great whole, and patiently wait to see the element of 
beauty and brightness which rlows from Iiis mind win its way 
through the obstacles presented by human society. All this great 
lesson is deduced from a trivial circumstance — a dispute between 
Tasso, the fervid poet, and Antonio, the cool, correct, and prudent 
gentleman. The drama opens with a scene in the duke's garden at 
Belriguardo, where the princess and her companion, Leonora, are 
engaged in entwining wreaths of flowers, with which they deck 
the busts of Virgil and Ariosto. Of course, during this occupa- 
tion of their hands their tongues are not silent; and in the current 
of their pleasant conversation, Leonora gives an excellent descrip- 



iion of the poet whose genius breatlies enchantraent over the 


* Leonora. His eye scarce seems to tarry on the earth ; 

His ear receives all nature's harmonies; 

And all that life and history can give 

Is treasured up in his capacions breast. 

His mind collects the scattered rays of light ; 

His soul can animate the lifeless clay. 

Things that to ns seem common he exalts, 

And what we prize, to him seems vanity. 

Thus in a magic circle wanders on 

This wondrous man, and draws us after liim ; 

Seems to approach us, yet remains apart ; 

And often seems to fix his gaze upon us, 

While spirits, in our likeness, stand before him. 

(Alphonso enters.) 
A Iphonso. I seek for Tasso, and he is not here. 

Can you give me no tidings of our poet ? 
Princess. I saw but little of him yesterday : 

To-day I have not caught a glimpse of him. 
Alphonso. 'Tis his old fault; he cleaves to solitude: 

And I forgive him when he shuns the crowd 

Of idle men, and with himself converses ; 

But cannot praise his wisdom when he shuns 

The true and cordial circle of his friends. 
Leonora. If I mistake not, you will change the tone 

Of your complaint ere long to cheerful praise. 

To-day I saw him, in the distance, Walking, 

With book and tablets, writing now and then ; 

And a chance word he uttered yesterday, 

Seems to imply his work is almost done : 

He tarries but to change a few stray lines, 

And then to put complete into your band 

An offering worthy of your gracious favour. 
Alplwnso. He shall be welcome lohen he brings the work, 

And give his mind a long, bright holiday. 

Even as my interest in his labour grows, 

Increases my impatience day by day. 

He cannot end it, will not say " 'tis done ! " 

But, ever-changing, for perfection striving, 

Puts out of reach the crown of all his toil. 
Princess. I cannot blame the modesty and care 

That lead him, step by step, to crown his work. 

The Muses must give favourable hours 

To fold so many labours into one. 

He longs to see his work a finished w7iole y 

And not a string of fables to amuse 



A while, then fall, like scattered words, asunder. 
Allow him time, good brother, for his work : 
That future times with us may share the joy^ 
In patience we rnust let the work mature. 

AlpJionso. Dear sister, you and I must act together. 

When I am hasty, you must temper me, 

And when you are too patient, I must urge : 

Thus we shall bring him to the hoped-for close. 

Then Fatherland and all the world shall wonder; 

And I shall have some portion of the fame, 

And Tasso ehall be led into the world. 

A noble man can never reach perfection 

Kept in a narrow circle. He must bear 

Both praise and blame, and find himself constrained 

To know himself by measuring with others. 

Thcre solitude shall flatter him no more ; 

His foe will not, and his friend dare not spare him. 

In the world's strife the youth puts forth his powers, 

Finds what ho is, and feels himself a man ! 

Leonora. So you will finish all your work in him. 
One talent may unfold in solitude : 
In the world's stream a character is formed. 
Oh that his mind and temper, like his art, 
Inspired by your example, may be taught 
No longer to avoid the haunts of men, 
Lest his suspicions turn to fear and hate. 

AlpJionso. He only dreads mankind who knows them not, 
And he who shuns men, easily mistakes them 
As Tasso does, and thus, by sure degrees, 
His noble mind is darkened and enslaved. 
Thus is he oft too anxious of my favour, 
And cherishes suspicion in his breast 
'Gainst many who would never do him wrong. 
If but a letter miss its way, a paper 
Be missing from its place, he thinks of treason, 
Of malice that would blast his happiness. 

Princess. Yes: but, my brother, we must not forget 
That from himself the man can never go ; 
And if a friend, while Walking at our side, 
Stumbles and lames himself, we lend our hand 
To lead him gently on. 

AlpJionso. But it were better 

If we could eure him, and with good advice, 
Make him right sound again, and then proeeed. 
But I will not, dear sister, be too hard ; 
I only would instil into his mind 
Good faith and confidence in those about him. 
Oft, in the presence of the court, I give him 
Marks of my favour. To his long complaints 


I yield attention, as I lately did 

Even vvhen he fancied they had robbed Iiis Chamber. 
As we must put forth all our faculties, 
I exercise my patience upon Tasso ; 
And you will help me in the work, I know. 
Princess. I see our Tasso Coming slowly on ; 

Sometimes he Stands, as nnresolved, a while ; 
Then hastens towards us — now he stays again. 

A Iphonso. Disturb him not, if he is in Iiis dreams. 
Leonora. No : he has caught a glimpse of us, and comes. 

(Entcr Tasso, bringing a book bound in parchment.) 
Tasso. I come, at last, to bring to you a work 

Which I am half-ashamed to lay before you. 
I know too well it still is incomplete, 
Although the tale seems ended. Twofold fear 
Has kept me hesitating ; while I feared 
Lest I should place it at your feet imperfect, 
And lest my gratitude should tardy seem. 
Such as it is, receive it ; 'tis yours. 

{He gives the book to Alphonso.; 

A Iphonso. You bring me, Tasso, with this gift delight, 
And make this beauteous day a festival. 
At last I hold it surely in my hand, 
And, in a certain sense, may call it mine. 
Tasso. If you are satisfied the work is done, 

The whole belongs to you in every way. 

When I regard the labour of my pen, 

I might declare, the work is surely mine : 

But when I ask what gives my Poesy 

All that it holds of inner worth and beauty, 

I do confess I have it all from you. 

Though nature gave to me the soul of song, 

How easily might contradicting fate 

Have hid from me the face of this fair world ! 

The poverty of parents might have cast 

A dismal gloom o'er all my youthful thoughts, 

And if my lips had opened but to sing, 

A mournful elegy had issued forth, 

Accordant with the sorrows of my home. 

You raised me from that narrow sphere of life, 

Lightening my soul from cares, that, in füll flow,, 

The soul of song might glorify my days ! 

All that I have your bounty gave to me, 

And, like a heavenly genius, you delight 

Through a poor mortal to reveal y ourseif ! 

Alplionso. The beauteous crown, the poet's meed, I see 
Upon the forehead of your ancestor : 

(Pointing to the bust of Virgil.) 

Has chance or some good genius brought it here % 



Methinks I liear old Virgil saying now : 
" Why deck, with verdaut coronals, the dead ? 
My marble image is adorned enough. 
The liviug crown becomes the living poet." 
^Alphonso beckons his sister,ioho takes the crown from Virrjü's bust, 
and approaches Tasso; he steps back.) 
Leonora. Why hesitate ? Whose band bestows the crown ? 

Tasso. How, after such a moment, shall I live ! 
Princess. You will allow me, Tasso, the delight 

To teil you, without words, all — all I think. 
(He kncels down, while the Princess places the crown lipon Ms head, 
and Leonora applauds.) 
Tasso. Oh take it off, ye gods ! and, glorified, 

There let it hang, suspended in the heavens, 
High, inaccessible ! — let all my life 
Be a continual aiming at that mark ! ' 

A bright world now expancls itself before the poet, who sees 
all things coloured by the radiance of Iiis own genius. Assnred 
of the affectionate regard which the princess cherishes towards 
him, he feels restored to confidence and good-will. He is ready 
to embrace even his suspected foes. But though a splendid poet, 
he is still an uneducated man. He knows not how to make pru- 
dence the friend and supporter of genius. "Whatever he does he 
must do as he writes poetry, by Inspiration, disregarding the cold, 
liarsh rules and habits of actual life. He forgets how many minds 
he has still about him not accordant with his own ; that all men 
are not just now in the glow of enthusiasm which he feels after 
the completion of his poem and his conversation with the princess. 
Determined to obey her desires, he resolves to make an offer of 
friendship to Antonio, the courtier, the politician, and the gentle- 
man. But what the poet does he must do quickly; no thne can 
he allow for mutual esteem graclually and truly to unfold. Deli- 
beration, in the warmth of his passion, he feels to be an insult. 
Antonio's mind is quite in another tone. He has not just come 
from a tender interview with a princess, but from the details of 
political arrangements with the prince. He receives the poet 
coldly, hesitates to return the offer of friendship, and refuses the 
hand stretched out. Tasso's feelings are outraged by this cold 
reception; and, after the interchange of some satirical remarks, 
the poet, who so lately vowed devotion to the princess, draws 
his sword upon her friend, when Alphonso steps forward and 
prevenls the duel. 

' The singular merit of this dramatic poem is this : that it is 
the fruit of genuine experience, adorned with the hues of a beau- 
tiful imagination, and clothed in classical language. It is a work 
written for the few: but it sets the example of a style of poetry; 



based upon reality, which may be addressed to the many. Some 
will regard the poet as a merely imaginative man; but here the 
poet speaks, we have no doubt, from true experience. 'Tis tarne 
the work does not go very far : it only acquaints us with some 
of the peculiarities and dangers to which the Constitution of the 
poet's mind and temperament is liable — but so far as it goes, it 
is in the true direction. Let us only have the various characters 
into which human nature divides itself as truly and as beautifully 
described, and that will be the school of poetry which is wanted 
in these times ; and the poet will again take his place, where he 
ought to be, in the foremost rank of those minds who enlighten 
and guide the human race. The poet must be a man of Observa- 
tion and genial wisdom, not sacrificing the ideal excellence which he 
aims at in his conversation with the realities of human life, nor, 
on the other hand, leaving the world of realities to indulge in the 
flights of imagination. The higher and more beautiful sentiments 
of our nature, which are flattered by the descriptions of poetry, 
are not intended to be thus immediately gratified by neglect of 
the " stern realities of life," but by triumph over them.' * 

'Iphigenie' (1787) is a fine imitation of the antique Greek style; 
but is marked by few events, and contains no modern interest. 
'Egmont' (1788) has some pleasing scenes, but is deficient in 
several respects as a drama. The ' Natural Daughter ' (1804) was 
another faüure, and several other pieces in the dramatic form may 
be described as containing some pleasant poetry and little dramatic 
interest. While Goethe refused to write dramas for the people, 
the low playwright, Kotzebue, found it easy to delight the public 
with frivolous productions. 

The violent tone of Schiller's first tragedy, ' The Robbers, 1 was 
not original, but was suggested by the style of several dramatic 
writers, of whom Maximilian Klixger (1753-1831) was the most 
remarkable. In the thne when Schiller began to write, wildness 
and absurdity were esteemed as the chief characteristics of poetical 
genius. Klinger possessed these qualities in abundance. Wieland 
describes him as ' a stränge man, who walkecl about in Y? eimar in 
a very scanty and ragged suit of clothes,' and displayed a total 
neglect of his personal appearance, which some persons regarded as 
a proof of original genius. He wrote several dismal and absurd 
tragedies which are beneath criticism. Afterwards he became a 
practical man, in the service of the Emperor of Russia, and wrote 
novels to convey his views of human life, which were very gloomy. 
He is still remembered by the Germans as one of the heroes of 
their ' stormy period ' of intellectual excitement. 

* ' The Spirit of German Poetry : ' by Joseph Gostiek. (ISiG.) 



Schiller gave to Iiis dramatic works more movement and populär 
interest than can be found in Goethe's dramas; but yielded too 
much to the sentimental tone so prevalent in German poetry. He 
maintained a noble principle respecting the moral influence of tlie 
stage; but brought forward Iiis didactic purposes in a style inju- 
rious to dramatic interest. He often gave to Iiis characters either 
an ideal virtue, or an unredeemed propensity to vice ; thus showing 
that he was more acquainted with abstract qualities than with real 
life. 'Fiesco' (1782) was written in a better style than 'The 
Robbers,' and for this reason was less suited to please the low 
theatrical taste of the time. The manager of the theatre at Mann- 
heim would hardly believe that Schiller could condescend to write 
such a tarne peace as 1 Fiesco,' deficient in all the points of consum- 
mate bad taste which the public required. ' Don Carlos ' (1787), 
though defective in dramatic art, showed improvement in the poet's 
ideas and style. ' Wallenstein ' (1798) was the result of long and 
careful study, and won for the poet a universal reputation in his 
native land. It contains passages of grandeur and beauty; but 
when critically reviewed, it must be acknowledged that it is dis- 
figured by long digressions and other defects. 'Maria Stuart' 
(1799), ' The Maid of Orleans ' (1801), and ' The Bride of Messina ' 

(1803) , were indebted to the fame of ' Wallenstein ' for agreat part 
of their success ; but the last of these three dramas is perhaps the 
highest specimen of the author's.poetic diction. 'Wilhelm Teil' 

(1804) was the most populär of Schiller' s plays, and is still es- 
teemed by many readers as Iiis best production. Here the love 
of liberty, which was so widely expressed in 'The Robbers,' 
appears in its true and refhied character. But in this play, and 
indeed in all the dramas of Schiller, we find many instances of 
strained sentiments, and endeavours to produce merely theatrical 
effects. These faults may be found perhaps in the following 
characteristic scene from ' Willielm Teil:' — 


(Scene :—The narrow pass of Ktissnacht. On the rock Tkll appears, armed 
with a cross-boic.) 

' Along this close defile the Yogt must ride : 
There is no other way to Küssnacht. Here 
I end my work, for which the place seems made. 
This alder-bush will screen me from his view, 
And hence my arrow can be surely pointed. 
The rocky cleft will hinder all pursuers. 
Now, Gessler, balance your aecounts with Heaven — 
Your latest hour has sounded. You must go ! 

I once lived harmlessly, and only pointed 
My shafts against the creatures of the forest — 



1 thought not then of hurting human life : 

But you have driven from me all thoughts of peace ; 

Ay, you have changed the current in my veins 

To poison. When you forced the father's hand 

To point the shaft so near his darling boy, 

You made me think of aiming at your breast. 

Now, to defend my children and my wife 
I'll spend this shaft. When last I drew the string, 
'Twas with a faltering hand, to strike the apple 
From my boy's head — then, while I prayed in vaiu 
That I, a father, might be spared that trial, 
I made a vow (within my secret breast 
Breathed deeply — God was witness of that vow) 
That the next target for my arrow, Gessler, 
Should be thy heart ! And now the vow I made 
In that dark moment of unuttered pain 
Shall be fulfilled : it was a sacred oath. 

(A Marriage Procession, accompanied with music, winds throvgh the 

defile Armgart, a poor woman, comes with her children, and 

occupies the entrance ofthepass ) 

Friesshardt. Make clear the path ! Away ! The Landvogt comes ! 

(Tell retires.) 

Armgart. The Landvogt comes! 

^Gessler, attended by Rudolph, enteis on horseback.) 

Gessler (to Rudolph). Say what you will, I am King Albert's servant, 
And all my care is to obey his wishes. 
He did not send me to this stubborn land 
To soothe the people. No ! the question now 
Is this — who shall be ruler; prince or peasant? 

Armgart. Now is the moment! Now I press my claim! 

(She approaches Gessler.; 
Gessler. I did not bid the people to bow down 
Before the hat at Altorf as a jest : 
No ; but to bend the sinews in their necks, 
Which would not bow before their rightful lord. 
I used it as a wholesome discipline, 
To keep in their unwilling minds the truth 
That I am master, and must be obeyed. 

Rudolph. And yet the people have some ancient rights. 
Gessler. We have no time to talk about them now : 
There are more serious interests at stake. 
The Emperor's house must flourish : what the father 
Began so well, the son must not neglect. 
This people is a stone upon our path, 
And must be moved, or eise be trodden down. 

f Armgart kneels in the way before Gessler.; 

Armgart. Mercy, lord governor ! Hear my petition ! 



Gessler. Woman, how darc you thus obstruct the pass ? 

Armgart. My lord! my husband in a dungeon lies — 

All his poor orphans scream for bread. Have mercy I 
Have pity, governor, on our distress ! 

Rudolph. What is your narae ? — who is your husband, woman 1 

Armgart. He was a peasant on the Rigi hüls, 

And mowed, for life, the scanty grass that grows 
Over the mouths of fearful chasms and sides 
Of rocks, where even wild cattle dare not climb. 

Rudolph (to Gessler). Good Heaven ! a poor and miserable life ! 
I pray you let this wretched man be free : 
Whatever his transgression may have been, 
His life is a sufficient chastisement. 

(To Armgart.; 
You shall be heard ; but this is not the place : 
Apply to us when we arrive at Küssnacht. 
Armgart. No, no ! I will not move, sir, from this spot 

Until my prayer is granted. Free my husband ! 
Six moons have o'er his dungeon passed away, 
And still he lies there, asking for a trial. 
Gessler. Woman, no more of this. Make clear the path ! 
Armgart. Justice for me, my lord ! You are our judge! 
The servant of the Emperor and of God : 
Perform your duty. If you have a hope 
That Heaven may listen to your prayers, hear mine ! 
Gessler. Away, I teil you ! This audacious people ! 

('Armgart scizes the rcins ofhis horsc.) 
Armgart. No, no, sir! I have nothing now to lose. 

You go not through this narrow pass until 
My prayer is heard ! Ay, you may knit your brow, 
And roll your eyes in anger — I care not. 
I teil you that we are so wretched now, 
We care not for your fury ! 
Gessler. Woman, move ! 

Or over you I soon shall find a way. 
f Armgart scizes her children, and throics thcm in the path beforc Gessler.^ 
Armgart. Eide on, then ! Here I lie with all my children. 
Now trample on us with your iron hoofs; 
It will not be the worst deed you have done ! 
Rudolph. Surely the woman's mad ! 

Armgart. For years you've trodden 

Upon the Emperor's people in this land. 
I'm but a woman ; if I were a man, 
I Avould do something better — not lie here 
Down in the dust before you. Now ride on ! 

(The music ofthe wedding-party is heard J 
Gessler. Where are my servants ? Call my followers 
To drag this wretched creature from the path ; 
Or I may do what I perhaps shall rue. 



Rudolph. Your followers are all detained, my lord ; 
A marriage Company fills up the way. 
GessUr. I see it — I have been too mild a ruler 

Over this people. Now I know my error. 

The cords to bind them must be stronger still. 

I will break down these rude, presumptuous minds : 

A new law sliall be issued in the land. 

I will 

(An arrow strikes Mm. He placcs Ms hand on Ms hcart.) 
Oh, Heaven be merciful to me ! 
Rudolph. My lord ! What sudden horror ! Whence came that ? 
Armgart. He falls— he dies ! The governor is slain! 
Rudolph dismounts. Haste — call for help ! Pursue the man ! My 

Confess your sins, and pray : your time is short. 
Gessler. That was Tell's arrow ! 

(Hell appears on the summit ofthe rock.) 
Teil. Tou know the marksman ! Seek not for another. 
Free are our huts, and innocence is safe : 
The tyrant's hand shall vex our land no more ! ' 

Little can be said in favour of the dramatic writers who followed 
Lessing, Goethe, and Schiller. German genius has failed more 
remarkably in the drama than in any other department of litera- 
ture ; and consequently, while some caterers for the theatrical 
taste have endeavoured to supply the want of a national drama 
by reviving the tragedies of Sophocles, others have filled the stage 
with extravagant spectacles, that the eye at least may be amused, 
while the heart and the mind are neglected. The natural ten- 
dency of a theatrical taste seems to be toward extravagance and 
false excitement, and the efforts of many writers who have at- 
tempted to blend moral and artistic excellence with dramatic inte - 
rest appear to have been wasted. Platen said truly of the Ger- 
man drama during his time — ' Other theatres have declined, after 
enjoying a season of respectability, but ours was a failure even in 
its beginning.' The national style of drama which Lessing had in- 
troduced, was degraded to commonplace in the writings of Iffländ 
and Kotzebüe. The name of Augustus Kotzebue (1761-1819) 
might be passed over in silence by all who care for the hon our 
of German literature ; but the popularity which his productions 
once enjoyed demands some notice. He wrote 211 dramatic 
pieces, generally worthless both in a poetic and a moral sense ; 
and their temporary success can only be explained by the thea- 
trical tact of the author and the low condition of public taste, 
which demanded mere novelty and excitement, and was careless 
ot all other qualities. The dramas of Matthäus von Collin 



(1779-1824) rose above the frivolities of Kotzebue in purpose, 
but were deficient in action and interest. Heinrich Kleist 
(1777-1811), a militaiy ofiicer, who died by his own hand, wrote 
dramas which display considerable, but undisciplined talent. 
Zacharias Werner introduced a series of dramas, which he called 
1 tragedies of fate ; ' and Howald, Müllner, and Grillparzer, 
wrote in a similar style ; but almost the best thing that can be 
said of these writers is, that for a time they drove the pieces of 
Kotzebue from the stage. The dramatic works of Platen, Rau- 
pach, Oehlenschleger (a Dane), Immermann, Julius Mosen, 
and Prutz, are more respectable than the pieces just mentioned ; 
but have failed to maintain interest on the stage. In Germany, 
even more distinctly than in England during the same period, a 
Separation has taken place between the theatre and all respect- 
able literature. New pieces of scenery have been considered as 
of far more importance than poetical genius. Playwrights have 
found that a display of tinsei will serve their purpose better than 
solid gold ; and the admiration with which unmeaning operas and 
spectacles have been received, shows a State of public taste not 
essentially superior to that which prevailed even in the fifteenth 
Century. A recent writer, R. C. Prutz, in his 1 History of the 
German Theatre,' speaks with some hope of the good effect which 
an improved national drama might exercise upon the people ; but 
he reasons in a circle, as he admits that populär taste must be 
refined before such a drama can be supported. Nearly all that 
can be said either against or in favour of dramatic entertainments 
may be found in the clear and eloquent lecture delivered by the 
poet Schiller at Mannheim in 1784, and in the essay by Ignatius 
Wessenberg on the 1 Moral Infiuence of the Stage.' The lecture 
is one of the best of Schiller's prose writings. Among the argu- 
menta which he employs in favour of theatrical representations 
we may notice the following, and leave the reader to weigh them 
against the one serious objection on which Wessenberg chiefly 
dwells. Schiller contends that 1 the natural thirst for intellectual 
and moral excitement beyond all that is found in the ordinary 
circumstances of life must be supplied. If superior excitements 
and amusements are discouraged, the populär taste will find lower 
gratifications.' This Schiller uses as the lowest argument, and 
then proceeds to observe that a superior drama may powerfully, 
though indirectly, assist even the laws of a country in the Sup- 
port of morality. ' Even if religious and moral sentiments were 
almost entirely deficient in the minds of spectators, still, on the 
impulse of self-preservation, they must feel a wholesome dread of 
crime when the great poet brings the murderess, Lady Macbeth, 
upon the stage, Walking in her perturbed sleep, and muttering, 



u All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand ! " 
These theatrical impressions (says Schiller) cannot be esteemed as 
adequate Substitutes for good moral teaching ; but they are strong 
and durable upon the minds of the common people, and must 
have some moral value. I have heard more than once populär 
indignation expressed in such words as, " Why, the man is as 
wicked as Frank Moor ! (a well-known character in the German 
drama). In the same style the lecturer proceeds to argue that 
' tlie exhibition of noble characters in the drama must excite 
sympathy, and prompt the spectators to imitate good qualities.' 
'Could any lecture, or essay, on the hateful nature of ingratitude 
produce the effect of Lear's exclamation to his daughters — " I gave 
you all?" But there are many minor virtues, or vices, pleasing 
qualities, and foibles in human nature, which religion and law can- 
not condescend to notice ; yet they are worthy of Observation, and 
without personality or malice, are placed before us in the most 
lively and entertaining manner in legitimate comedy. In this 
mirror we may see the defects and inconsistencies which are found 
in our own characters, and, without having to submit to personal 
exposure or reproof, we may be secretly thankful to the comic 
dramatist for giving us some wholesome hints, while lie raises a 
laugh only at the expense of an imaginary character. If against 
these observations it is argued that reality and practical life con- 
tradict them ; that spectators with callous minds can witness 
representations of the best moral dramas, and still feel no whole- 
some influence ; that, in fact, the u Harpagon " of Moliere has 
not yet made all extortioners ashamed of their practices ; that 
the suicide of " Beverley " has not proved an effectual warning to 
all gamblers ; or that the tragical end of " Karl Moor " has not 
frightened away all robbers, and made all our highways and 
houses safe — still, admitting the force of these objections, I would 
say that the drama must not be condemned for having failed, as 
all other institutions have hitherto failed, to produce any such 
complete reformations in society.' Thus Schiller reasoned on this 
question ; and the remaining points in his lecture may be viewed 
aa all depending on the supposition that a legitimate and moral 
drama can be maintained. On the opposite side the argument of 
Wessenberg may be given : — ' The drama,' says this author, ' how- 
ever noble in its character, must not give its lessons in a direct, 
didactic style, but must place before us, in fair contrasts, the lights 
and the shadows of human nature, and must make us acquainted 
with the good, the wise, the virtuous, and also with the base, the 
foolish, and the unworthy. And characters must be naturally 
drawn. Even the goodness which accompanies evil must claim 
our notice. The moral or the general purport of a drania cannot 




appear in every part. This would spoil the drama as a work of 
art. It raust ratlier result fron? a fair view of the whole. Here 
is the formidable difficulty. Can we hope, even if a drama is in 
itself good, that all the spectators will take a fair view of the 
■whole ? May it not be good for some, and evil for others ? One 
book is not addressed to all classes, ages, or characters ; but the 
theatre is open to the whole public, invites the attention of all, 
and must conciliate the taste of the majority. If a rogue is intro- 
duced on the stage, he must be made interesting to the spectators ; 
Iiis good-humour and his clevemess, his temporary successes, must 
be fairly exhibited. This will not lead a cultivated and discrimi- 
nating mind into error ; but in the audience you may find many 
young and untramed minds who will admire the hero, and almost 
forget that he is a rogue. His cleverness and success may cap- 
tivate their attention ; their sympathies are enlisted on his side, 
and they may feel, not satisfaction, but regret when they see the 
failure of Iiis cunning plot. I see no way of avoiding this evil ; 
for if you would make the drama a school for populär Instruction, 
you must injure its character as a work of art. A piece which 
presented its lessons in a direct style, without fair and füll expo- 
sitions of character, might be well-meaning, but must forfeit all 
dramatic value. 1 


The numerous prose-fictions of the Germans may be conve- 
niently arranged in four classes. The first will comprehend 
liistorical romances. Few productions in this department will 
bear a comparison with the writings of Scott. In the second 
class, containing novels which profess to describe characters and 
scenes in real life, German fiction is comparatively poor. A third 
class may comprise all the fictions marked by particular tendencies 
respecting art, literature, or society. Writings in this style have 
been received with more favour in Germany than in England. 
Goethe's ' Wilhelm Meister, 1 and Wagner 1 s novels, may be men- 
tioned as specimens. In the fourth class, including hnaghiative 
and poetical tales, German literature is especially rieh. To this 
department of fiction, in which the imagination is allowed to 
wander far beyond the bounds of real life and probability, the 
Germans apply distinctively the term 'poetical. 1 The extreme 
meaning attached to this term may be explained by a short 
quotation from a literary critic, Gustavus Schwab, who gives 
the following esthnate of Sir Walter Scott's fictions : — 'In England, 
these novels and romances are still generally read and admired 



as classical productions ; while in our country, where they were 
once very fashionable, they are now perhaps too much neglected. 
Thcir style is generally prosaic in the extreme, though sometimes 
it approaches very near to poe-try? An English reader will natu- 
rally ask ' What can be the meaning of the word M poetry " in this 
passage?' and will be surprised to find that, while he regards 
such romances as ' Waverley ' and ' Ivanhoe ' as sufficiently ' poe- 
tical,' the Gennan critic refuses to apply this term to Scott, and 
reserves it for such writers as Jean Paul Kichtee, Tieck, 
Fouque, and Arnim. 

All the imaginative and mystical fictions of these and other 
authors must not be confused together. There is an important 
distinction between such tales as convey some substantial moral 
truth and interest under an array of visionary adventures, and 
others which are merely fantastic, and almost destitute of meaning. 
The tales of Fouque belong to the former subdivision, while many 
of the stories of Hoffmann belong to the latter, and would not 
demand notice here if they had not enjoyed a considerable popu- 
larity in Germany. The different effects produced on the minds 
of readers by these two varieties of imaginative fiction will clearly 
distinguish one from the other. In the former style, the imagi- 
nation is for a time occupied with visionary images and charac- 
ters ; but at the conclusion of the story, its moral meaning leaves 
a satisfactory impression, and all the fantastic incidents which 
have served to excite attention are forgotten : they melt away 
in the light of moral truth, as the uncertain images of night are 
lost hi the morning. Thus somethmg may be said in favour of 
visionary and symbolical fictions, or at least they may be distin- 
guished from merely fantastic stories. 

Goethe's novel of ' Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship ' (1795) 
may be classed with fictions intended to convey certain views of 
life. But though it contains the results of experience and reflec- 
tion, it cannot be esteemed as a perfect work of its kind, for the 
object of the writer remains in a mist, even at the end of the story. 
Wilhelm is an imaginative youth, who meets the circumstances 
of real life with ideal expectations. Some of the disappointments 
which he encounters are narrated graphically, and with a pecu- 
ijar quiet himiour, especially where he joins a band of theatrical 
adventurers, and finds a painful contrast between his notions of 
dramatic dignity and the actual miseries of a wandering actor. 
Whatever the latent meaning of this singular novel may be, its 
scenes and adventures are often marked with such traits, that 
it cannot be generally recommended. The sequel, entitled 
'Wilhelm Meister's Years of Travel' (1821), conveys, or rather 
conceals, its doctrines in a mystical style. Another novel by 



Goethe bears a title, 'Wahlverwandtschaften'* (1809), which 
cannot be clearly translated. It has many beauties as a work of 
art, bnt has been severely censured by some critics, on acconnt of 
its supposed immoral tendency ; while others have regarded it as 
a fair representation of the consequences of unhappy matrimony. 
The following passage is extracted from ' Wilhelm Meister ' : — 


c Our young poefc had preserved all Iiis productions up to tliis 
time, when a great change suddenly passed over Iiis views of life. 
His poems lay noatly bound together in a box ; for he had intended 
to take them with him when he started to try his fortunes in the 
great world. But now he unlocked the box with another purpose. 
He glanced over the poetry of his youth, like a person who reads 
in his own letters his sentiments recorded in past years, and is 
surprised to find himself an altered character. He threw the first 
packet of poems into the fire. At this moment his old friend Werner 
stepped into the room, and was surprised to see the confkigration 
of papers. " What can you be doing?" said he. " I will show you," 
said Wilhelm, " that I am in earnest when I talk of renouncing a 
profession iu which I despair of attaining excellence." So saying, 
he threw the second packet of poems into the flames, and would not 
allow Werner to save it from destruction. " Keally, 1 can see no 
reason in this conduct," said the old book-keeper ; " we don't act so 
in business. Supposing your poems are not first-rate, yet why should 
they be turned into smoke? Every article has a certain value." 
"Your rules of business, Werner, will not pass in poetry," said 
Wilhelm : " here no mediocrity, no feeble imitation must be tole- 
rated. You have seen, after a rope-dancer has performed in a town, 
all the boys making caricatures of his clever tricks on the tops of 
gates and railings. And when a musical artist has delighted the 
public with his fine execution on some instrumeiit, many persons 
become amateurs on this instrumeiit. So it is in the highest art. 
One true poet excites many youthful imitators to fruitless com- 
petition. It is well when they learn in early life the folly of such 
attempts." " Still, I cannot understand your reasoning," said Werner : 
u why must you run from one extreme to another ? Why burn these 
poems, which, if, as you say, they are not first-rate, yet have cost 
you some study ? I say nothing should be wasted. Why may you 
not devote yourself to business, and still write a few verses now and 
then, as a pretty amusement for an idle hour ? " u Poetry must not 
be treated in such a style," said Wilhelm indignantly ; " it demands 
the devotion of a life. The genius who has a world of wealth in 
his own bosom, must live in the enjoyment of Iiis intellectual trea- 
sures, and must not be disturbed by the cares and trifles of this 
commonplace world ! " (Here Wilhelm broke into a rhapsody on 
poetry, to which old Werner listened with blank astonishment.) 

* This Compound word rueans strictly, Elcdive Jßnilies; or freely, Congeniality. 



« Would you," he continued, " expcct tlie poet to stoop down to your 
low cares?— a spirit born to soar over the earth like an eagle, and 
only to alight on its lofticst places ! Would you take him, and yoke 
hhn, as you would an ox, to a plough? " 

' The common sense of Werner was for a moment astounded by 
this burst of eloquence ; but he recovered himself, and rcplied, tt Well, 
well, it would be all very good if men wcrc indeed like the birds, as 
you say, and could live happily without spinning and weaving, or if 
thcy could fiy away from cold weather and scarcity of provisions at 
the approach of winter. But unfortunately this is not the case." 

" Ah ! " said Wilhelm (now brought down to the earth again), 
" there ivas a time when poets were honoured, and made free from 
earthly cares; and, being wealthy in themselves, they did not re- 
quire much external help. But they were received as honoured 
guests in the courts of kings. Men listened to their lays as we 
listen to the song of the nightingale. The conqueror revered the 
poet as the maker of an immortal rcnown ; and even the rieh man 
enjoyed Iiis treasures and produetions of art in the highest degree 
when they were celebrated in the lays of the poet." ' 

It may be observed here that Goethe favoured a suggestive 
and symbolical style in fiction, and chose rather to imply than 
to express clearly Iiis didactic purport. He tliought that all good 
and effective impulses must spring up in a man's own bosom, and 
cannot be forced lipon him by any coereive doctrine ; and that 
the duty of a writer must be to suggest, to animate and encourage, 
rather than to teach in a direct style. In aecordance with this 
view, many doctrines are implied in 'Wilhelm Meister.' For 
instance, Goethe maintained that characters are displayed in daily 
habits rather than in extraordinary actions. He draws a portrait 
of an idle and vain woman, and speaks indignantly of her neglect 
of neatness and domestic economy, while he passes over her more 
notorious bad conduet with few words, as he considers that it was 
all implied in the clescription given of her general disorderly habits. 

The imitators of Wieland's prose-fictions may be passed over 
without particular notices here, as they followed chiefly the objec- 
tionable tendencies of Iiis writings, while they often neglected the 
good taste and elegance of Iiis style. Friedrich Müller (1750- 
1825) wrote several short stories in a pastoral and sentimental 
tone, and marked by some pleasant descriptions. 

Jean Paul Eichter (1763-1825) endeavoured to unite the 
English humour of Sterne with German sentiment. His principal 
fictions, 'Hesperus' (1795), ' Quintus Fixlein' (1796), 'Titan' 
(1803), 'Levana; on Education ' (1807), and 'Fibel' (1812), are 
characterised by a profuse expenditure of unchastened imagination 
and fancy, and a stränge mixture of humour and pathos, not with- 
out affectation. His style is diffuse and eccentric. All fancies 



that glanccd across the receptive mind of this writer wcre ho- 
nourcd with a place in bis pages, apparently with little care about 
their real value. Consequently, there is a show of rieh imagery 
in bis writings ; but it is in a great measure the gaudiness of an 
unweeded flower-garden. His works are so destitute of artistic 
form and beauty, and so füll of repetitions of ideas, that a small 
collection of remarkable passages would be as valuable as the 
whole series. As books are mnltiplied rapidly, while leisnre be- 
comes scanty in these modern days, the interest of literature seems 
to require that severe criticism should be exercised lipon authors 
who cover an immense space of paper with diffuse, tautological 
writing. Jean Paul was an arch-offender of this class. He ex- 
panded to sixty-five volumes the few ideas which an artistic 
writer could have developed in two or three stories. His hu- 
morous pictures of quiet domestic life are his most successful 
produetions, and in this style he might perhaps have become a 
classic author, if he could have wisely limited his ambition. But 
he filled his pages with the results of multifarious reading, so that 
sometimes, to understand one of his stories, simple enough in its 
outlines, the reader must have some acquaintance with geology, 
chemistry, astronomy, and other sciences. If an author would 
collect some hundreds of similes and allusions from works of 
science, old histories, and newspapers, then throw them together, 
and shake them well m a bag, and lastly, write a story to employ 
them all as they came to band, he would make some approach to 
the style of Jean Paul, who actually prepared his works on a plan 
not imlike that just suggested. These serious faults, and others, 
have been overlooked by many readers, who admire the benevo- 
lent character of Richter, as it is displayed in his fictions.* The 
censure of this author's style by no means implies a disposition 
to undervalue the beautiful thoughts and sentiments which are 
scattered through Iiis writings; but these beauties make us regret 
that they have not been displayed in clear language. The follow- 
ing is a Condensed version of one of Jean Paul's shorter tales : — 


' Suggest to nie some great thought to refresli my mind.' Herder (on his 

deathbed) to his son. 

'Gottreich Hartmann lived with his father, an aged clergyman, 
in the little village of Heim. Happy were the old man's declining 

* As Richter has enjoyed great celebrity in England as well as in Germany, the 
above criticism on his style may he regarded by some readers as bold and severe. 
But, while it is independent, it aecords with the judgments of the well-known lite- 
rary historians, Gerv inus and Vilmar. The latter says : ' A reader who has enjoyed 
the prose-style of classical antiquity, or such prose as was written by Luther, or 
Lessing, or Goethe, or Schiller, must soon turn away with impatience from a style 
like that of Jean PauL' 



years ; for, as Iiis strengtli failed, Iiis son stepped into his place, and 
fulfilled his duties ; and truly edifying were the homilies of the young 
preacher to the father's heart. . . . If it is painful to differ in opinion 
from one whom we love, to turn away the head from one to whom 
the heart is always inclined, it is doubly sweet at once to love and 
believe in aecordance with one in whom we find our own better seif 
sustained and perpetuated with youthful energy. Thus life is like 
a fair starry night, when no star sets until another has arisen. 
Gottreich had a paradise about him, in which he held the post of 
gardener for his father, enjoying all its fruits, while he laboured 
chiefly for the gratification of the old man. Every Sunday brought 
a new delight in a new homily prepared to gladden the father's 
heart. . . . The moistened eye of the old clergyman, his hands folded 
now and then in silent thanksgiving during the sermon, made for the 
young preacher an Ascension f estival out of every Sunday. Those 
who imagine that the preparation and delivery of a course of homi- 
lies throughout a year must be a dry task, should have heard this 
father and his son conversing on the last, or Consulting on the next, 
discourse for the little congregation at Heim. A new member was 
added to this congregation. Justa, a young maiden of considerable 
wealth, and an orphan, left her residence in a neighbouring town to 
find rural happiness in the little village where Gottreich lived with 
his father. Two may be happy together, but three may be still 
happier ; for two may talk on the merits of the third, and so the 
harmonic triad of friendship will allow several pleasing variations. 
This required third person was found in Justa ; for, after she had 
heard four or five of the young preacher's homilies, she consented 
to listen also, very patiently, to his addresses, and resolved to with- 
hold her band only until the disturbances of the country (for it was 
then the time of our war with the French) should subside into 
peace. ... In the fresh delight of this May morning of his life, 
Gottreich could not avoid thinking that his morning star must some 
day shine as his evening star. He said to himself— " My prospects 
are clear and joyous now — the happiness of life, the beauty of the 
universe, the glory of the Creator, the constellations of eternal 
truths — I see and feel them all clearly and warmly. But it may be 
otherwise with me in the latest hours of my life ; for approaching 
death sometimes holds an inverted telescope before the eye, and 
then nothing is seen but a drear, void space, extending between us 
and all whom we love. But should this mere optical deeeption be 
taken as the truth ? No ; this is the truth which I see and feel now, 
in the youth and vigour of my life. Let me remember it well, that 
the light of my morning may appear again in my evening sky." 
With this intention he opened a diary, and wrote down his best 
sentiments under this title — " Recollections of the Fairest Hours 

Preserved to cheer the Latest Hours of Life.' 7 From 

these happy occupations Gottreich was called away by the de- 
mands of Iiis country during the warfare of liberation. He left 
his father under the care of Justa, and took a place in a regiment of 



volunteers. He closed his campaign after some active Service, but y 
somewhat to Iiis disappointment, without a wound. And now, as 
peace again brooded over the rescued country, the young soldier 
travelled homeward through towns and villages füll of festivity, but 
knowing that none were happier than kimself. As he approached 
his native place, the little church tower of Heim seemed to grow up 
out of the earth, and as he went down into the Valley, the lowly par- 
sonage again met his eye, while all its Windows were shining in 
evening radiance. But when he entered the house, he was surprised 
to find the lower rooins empty. A slight noise called his attention 
to his father's Chamber. He entered it, and found Justa beside the 
bed of the old clergyman, who sat propped up by pillows, while his 
pale wasted face gleamed strangely in the rosy light of evening. 
Justa related, in few words, how the father had overwrought him- 
self in attention to his duties, and had remained now for some days 
half-sunk in lethargy, taking no interest in all that had once been dear 
to him. As she spoke, the old man heard not, but sat gazing on the 
setting sun, surrounded with crimson and golden clouds. After a 
little time the sky was overcast, a dead calm lasted for a few mi- 
nutes, and then a heavy shower feil, accompanied with lightning. 
This disturbance of the elements seemed to waken the dying father 
from his Stupor. " See ! " said he, pointing to the sky ; u see the 
glorious works of God ! And now, my son, teil me, for my comfort, 
something of the goodness of the Almighty One, as you told us in 
your sermons in the spring." Gottreich wept, as he thought that the 
little manual which he had written for Iiis own consolation must first 
be read at his father's deathbed. He drew out his little book of 
" Eecollections," and read a passage with a faltering voice, while the 
old man folded his hands in silent prayer. " Have you not known 
and feit," said Gottreich, " the presence of that Being whose infini- 
tude is not only displayed in power and wisdom, but also in love ? 
Remember now the sweet hours of childhood, when the clear blue 
sky of day, and the dark blue sky of night, opened upon you, like 
the eyes of your preserving Angel. Think how a thousand reflec- 
tions of the Eternal Goodness have played around you, from heart 
to heart, from eye to eye of mankind, as one light shines from sun 
to sun, and from world to world, throughout the universe." .... 
Gottreich read other passages from his manual, and administered 
Christian consolation to his father. The old man drank in the 
words of Iiis son, and seemed to be refreshed with the recollections 
of Iiis own life, as he whispered now and then, with failing breath, 
"All is good ! — all is good !" At last the brightness of all these 
views of life was lost, not in the darkness of death, but in the supe- 
rior light of another life. 

" He is gone," said Gottreich. ..." The sun has set and risen at 
once, and he knows now that the same light makes glorious both the 
morning and the evening." ' 

As Jean Paul has been celebrated for the humour as well as tliQ 



pathos of his writings, two short humorous sketches may be 
appended : — 


* The evil genius who delights to raise matrimonial disputes out 
of merc trifles, had tlirown into thc way of OUT hero, Siebenkäs, a 
classical anecdote about the wife of Pliny the Younger, who held 
the lamp over her liusband's table while he was engaged in writing. 
Siebenkäs admired this example, and as he had no lamp, he sug- 
gested to his wife that she might imitate the noble Eoman lady inr 
some humble degree, by punctually snuffing the candle. 

M With plcasure ! " said Lenette, taking up the snuffers, and 
immediately commencing her task. 

* For about a quarter of an hour the plan succeeded admirably, 
and Siebenkäs wrote without being disturbed by one thought of the 
candle ; but as no two individuals can exactly coincide in their 
opinions with regard to the amount of snuffing which a candle re- 
quires, the calculations of Lenette and her husband were soon at 
variance. This produced some impatience on his part, which was at 
first slightly manifested now and then by a turn of his chin toward 
the candle ; then it was expressed by a gentle exclamation, " The 
light !" and at last it produced a whole sentence — " Lenette, do be 
so kind as to amputate that stupid, black snuff !". . . . 

* The wife obeyed, and again attended punctually to her duty for 
some time ; but just before supper a crisis arrived. Lenette had 
been too much engaged with her needlework, and had allowed the 
snuff to rise almost above the flame. A dark shadow feil over the 
paper on which Siebenkäs was writing. He raised his head, gazed 
solemnly on the black nuisance, and said, with studied mildness, " I 
suppose, for anything you will do, the wick may grow up to the ceil- 
ing. Now I will perform this duty while you spread the supper, and 
then I shall take the opportunity of expressing my thoughts on this 
subject in a reasonable style." 

" Very well," said Lenette. 

" I had expected," said he, " to make good progress in my work 
this evening, as I did not suppose you would fail in doing for me 
such a Service as the noble lady of Pliny gladly performed for that 
author. However, I will now explain to you psychologically the 
nature of the case, so that you may see it is no trifle. You must 
understand that, while I am waiting for you to perform your duty, 
the flow of my thoughts is suspended. For this mental act of wait- 
ing must be a thought (you surely see that ?), and this thought can- 
not luwe a place in my mind even for a moment without discom- 
posing better thoughts. So you see my best ideas are sacrificed 
while you compel me to meditate on such a miserable subject as 
the snuff of a candle !" 

' Lenette attended to this metaphysical lecture very patiently, and 

promised to do better another time This promise was duly re- 

membered the next evening ; for now she would hardly keep h®t 


fingers from the snuffers for fivc minutes. As Siebenkäs expressed 
Iiis thanks for her attentiveness by frequent nods, slie imagined that 
she could not be too active, and was thus led into an extreme. Her 
husband observed this, and said, " Try to preserve a just medium." 
But again Lenette was too hasty. " Really," exclaimed Siebenkäs, 
u was there any need of snuffing then f Lenette now tried to find 
" the just medium," but was too late. " Now, now I" said the author. 
" Yes, yes !" she responded, immediately performing the required 
amputation. At length Siebenkäs became deeply engaged in his 
writing; and Lenette, being left without a prompter, thought so 
much of her needlework, that the forgotten wick rose again in dis- 
mal blackness as a witness against her. Siebenkäs fixed a despair- 
ing look upon it ; then threw down his pen, and exclaimed, « This 
is a miserable life for a poor author ! I have not in all the world a 
friend who will even snuff a candle for me l" So saying, he hastily 
snuffed it out. 

1 In the interval of darkness which followed, he walked to and fro, 
and expressed some unfavourable views of feminine characteristics. 
" "Women," said he, " have no just sense of moderation ; but will 
always do either too much or too little !" As this abstract theory 
provoked no answer, he proeeeded to apply his remarks, and coni- 
plained that his wife had always been unwiiling to perform for him 
even the most trifling Services. Even this extorted no reply. 

" Indeed," he exclaimed, rising to a declamatory tone, " when 
have I required any save the slightest Services ? And when have 
even these been paid to me ? Now I demand an answer. Speak!'* 

* Lenette said nothing ; but lighted the candle, and placed it on the 
table, while Siebenkäs saw tears in her eyes for the first time since 
their marriage. At the same moment he saw something more — his 
own besetting sin of impatience ; and without delay, he expelled the 
offending Adam of bad temper from his bosom. Lenette reeeived 
Iiis confession with a reconciliug smile. So light and peace were at 
once restored.' 


'Nobody could purchase a trifle with more indifference than I 
manifested when I paid to the lottery agent here in Bayreuth (Herr 
Gunzenhäuser) the sum of twelve Bhenish florins, and reeeived, as 
an acknowledgment of my cash, the ticket marked No. 19,983. To 
teil the truth, I feit like one who has foolishly throAvn away a few 
florins, rather than like a man enjoying a prospect of enormous 
wealth. And yet, it is true, I may be successful ; and if No. 19,983 
prove the winning card in this game, what a destiny will be mine ! 
According to the proclamation made under royal authority at 
Munich, I shall possess, in the first place, " all those most desirable 
estates named respcctively Walchern and Lizelberg, in the district 
of Hausruckviertel, charmingly and beautifully situated between 
Salzburg and Linz ; estates which, even in the year 1 750, were valued 
at 231,900 Khenish florins ; item, the saw-mill in excellent repair, 



and the complcte brewery situated at Lizelberg (these two buildings 
have bccnvalued at 90,000 florins); item, 50,000 guilders, which havo 
becn accumulating such an intercst as will at least sufiice to cleai* 
the estatcs f'rom all mortgages." Such is the gold mine of which I 
shall be the possessor if my ticket (one out of 36,000) prove fortu- 
nate, of which I am strongly disposed to hope. . . . Yet with this pro- 
spect bcfore me, I remained calm and patient until the last day in 
last ycar, which had been hxed npon as the drawing-day ; and again 
I waited patiently until the 18th of February, when the authorities 
of Munich determined that the drawing shall ccrtainly take place on 
the last day in the coming June. So now I can put my finger on the 
spot in my almanac marking the day when, like an aloe suddenly 
bursting into bloom after forty years without flowers, I shall expand 
my golden blossoms, and flourish as the German Crcesus of our 
times. While meditating thus, I did not dream for a moment of any 
formidable danger attending my golden expectations, until I received 
a letter from my old friend the poor schoolmaster, Seemaus, who had 
also bought a lottery ticket, and had become quite hypochondriacal 
with anxiety and suspense. A rector of a school in one of our small 
market-towns is a likely subject for hypochondriasis and the temp- 
tation of a lottery ticket. The whole interest which poor Seemaus 
has hitherto had in the money -market consists in a few petty debts, 
of which various memoranda are now and then presented to him 
by chandlers and other small shopkeepers. The respectability of 
being responsible for heavy debts has never been the lot of my 
friend, owing to a difficulty in finding creditors. In short, bis cir- 
cumstances have been exactly suitable (as government seems to 
think) to his scholastic profession. When Moses was preparing to 
become the teacher and the lawgiver of the Jewish people, he fasted 
forty days upon a mountain ; and from this sublime example our 
legislature seems to have deduced the conclusion, that the man who 
would be the guide and teacher of the rising generation, must prove 
his capabilities by his endurance of fasting. A starving schoolmaster 
is consequently one of the features of our civilisation, and my friend 
Seemaus is a perfectly normal specimen of bis class. Under the 
excitement of a lottery ticket his frail nerves are quivering, and in 
a letter which he has sent to me, he expresses an apprehension that 
if he finds himself, on the 30th of June, owner of " the princely 
estates of Walchern and Lizelberg, peopled by 1000 families ; item, 
the new and spacious mausion, with the brewery, and the 700 acres 
of forest, with shooting and fishing " — he shall die for joy ! His 
letter contains the following paragraph : — 

"In my excited condition, I have been so injudicious as to 

read several chapters of a translation of ' Tissot on Nervous Dis- 
orders,' in which I have found several accounts of persons who have 
died under the influence of sudden joy. For instance, we read of a 
pope dying in his delight on hearing of a victory gained by his friends, 
and of a hound which died in the joy with which it hailed its master 
after a long absence. Weber (another author) teils a story of a man 


whosc nerves were so much affected by a sudden shower of good 
fortime, that he bccame paralytic, and was afflicted with stammering. 
The 'Nurembcrg Correspondent ' has lately given an account of 
two great bankers who both died suddenly in one day, one in joy on 
receiving a large profit, and the other in sorrow for a heavy loss. I 
have also read of a poor relation of Leibnitz, who heard with calm- 
ncss the news of a rieh legacy bequeathed to her ; but when the real 
property — the costly linen and valuable silver plate — were spread out 
before her eyes,she gazed upon them for a moment in silent ecstasj r , 
and immediately expired ! What, then, must I expect to feel when 
I look upon the princely estates of Walchern and Lizelberg, &c. 
&c. &c. and realise the fact that they are ntine!" 

' To calm the fears of my worthy friend Seemaus, I addressed to 
him the following letter : — 

" My De ar Seemaus — I assure you I can fully sympathise with 
your excited feelings ; for I am now in circumstances exactly like 
your own. I have taken Xo. 1.9,983, and am now looking forward to 
the day of doom, June 30, which happens to be my name-day — St 
Paul's festival. Many others around nie here are hoping and fearing 
to evaporate in joy on that day, and such is the benevolent feeling 
prevailing here just now, that every one is perfectly Willing to bccome 
a martyr for the benefit of Iiis fellow ticket-holders — Willing, among 
36,000 men, to be the one man doomed to die ! . . . . However, as you 
wish to cherish your hope of gaining Walchern, Lizelberg, the ex- 
cellent saw-mill, and the complete brewery, &c. &c. without giving 
\ip (beside your twelve florins) all hope of life, I will give you some 
means of calming your fears. Allow me to recommend to you an 
urabrella to defend your head against the sudden thunder-shower of 
gold ; or (if you like this figure better) a parasol to guard you from 
the coup de solcil of good fortune. It appears to me that the real 
danger to be apprehended when we Step suddenly into the possession 
of such enormous wealth, is, that our minds will be unprepared to 
cope with our external circumstances. We shall be utterly bewil- 
dered. A thousand scheraes and suggestions of expenditure and 
enjoyment will at once present themselves. While our nerves are 
tingling with delight, and our veins are throbbing, the brain will be 
oppressed and confused by ideas too vast, too new, and too numerous 
to be comprehended, and even the fatal explosion which you appre- 
hcnd may take place. To prevent such a calamity, we must now 
calmly prepare ourselves for the great crisis. We must familiarise 
our imagination with the contemplation of enormous wealth. Düring 
the few weeks which must elapse befoi-e the decisive drawing, you 
will do well to imitate the plan which I have now completed for my 
own use. In the first place, I have made myself perfectly familiär 
with the supposition that I am now ' Baron of Walchern and Lizel- 
berg.' I have covered half a quire of paper with an inventory of 
my property, a valuation of the rental, and plans of expenditure. I 
know exactly what I shall do with the 700 acres of forest, the game, 



tlie fisherics, and the 1000 families of tenants. I have even made 
accurate Charts of the travels I shall enjoy during my first year in 
possession. Having done all this, the property no longer overcomes 
my power of comprehension : I have a definite notion of it, great as 
it is — I can see how it may he expcnded ; in short, I have mastered 
the subject, and now I can calmly wait until I see my prize an- 
nounced in the ' Munich Times,' when I shall receive my deeds from 
the agents with an nnfaltering hand, like one long accustomed to 
wealth. If you could visit me now, you wonld find among my 
papers some very elegant plans and elevations of houses (for after 
all that has been said in favour of the new mansion, I shall build 
another to suit my own taste); item, an extensive catalogue for anew 
iibrary ; item, a plan for the benefit of the tenants ; besides sundries, 
such as memoranda, e to buy a Silvermann's pianoforte,' 4 a good 
hunter,' &c. &c. You will not be surprised to learn that I intend to 
continue my authorship; but it will be in future conducted in a 
princely style, as I shall maintain two clerks, as quotation-makers 
and copyists, and another official to correct the press. But my great 
care has been to prepare a Constitution and code of laws for my 1000 
families of subjects. . . . Allow me to remind you (as you are also in 
danger of becoming a ruler rather suddenly) that you should in- 
stantly be preparing to give a Constitution or some little magna 
charta to your subjects ; for all rulers must be bound in some 
measure before they can be trusted and obeyed with safety. . . . Thus 
the old Egyptians wisely tied together the fore-claws of the croco- 
dile, in order that they might worship him without danger of being 
devoured by the idol. 

" Prepare yourself according to my plan, dear Seemaus ; and 
then you need not fear that the great gold mine of June 30 will fall 
in and crush you as you begin to work it. At least let us enjoy for a 
few days the dream of hope for which we have paid twelve florins : 
let us not spoil it with fears and anxieties. This hope is like butter 
on a dog's nose, which makes him eat dry bread with a relish. With 
their noses anointed with this butter, all our fellow ticket-holders 
are now eating their bread (black, brown, or white, earned by toil, 
or tears, or servility) with an extra relish. This, for the present 
time, is a positive enjoyment, and if we are wise, we shall not disturb 
it. So, hoping that you will possess it until the 30th of June, I am, 
yours truly, Jean Paul Fr. Richter." ' 

To the above notice of Kichter we may add the following re- 
marks on Iiis character as an author by Dr Vilmar: — ' Eicht er was 
the favourite author among sentimental readers at the close of the 
last and the beginning of the present Century. He may be dis- 
tinguished from the humorous writers of an earlier period by the 
sentimental tone which prevails through all bis writings, and is 
found even in his latest production, " Selina." In this we ob- 
eerve that, as in the case of all other eccentric humorists, there 



is no regulär dcvelopment of poetic genius to be traced through 
his career: a humorist, indecd, can liave no such development; 
for if he could once attain a true clearness of style, or artistic per- 
fection in writing fiction, lie would cease to be a huniorist. . . The 
characteristics of all Richter's works may be summed up in the 
word " youthfulness." He was the favourite romancist for youth, 
appealing chiefly to young miuds füll of happy dreams, mysterious 
doubts, imaginative delights, and great vague thoughts strangely 
mingled with the sportiveness of boyhood; and readers who have 
stood still in intellect, and have retained the taste they had in 
their minority, may still find delight in Jean Paul's pages ; while 
others who have advanced to a manly taste can no longer relish 
their former favourite.' 

Therese Huber (1764-1829) was the authoress of several 
populär and pleasing fictions, which appeared under the name of 
her husband. < The Family Seidorf ' (1795) and 1 The Judgment 
of the World' (1805) show considerable knowledge of characters. 
Friedrich Jacobs (1764) is better known as a philologist than 
as a novelist ; but has stoopecl from his classical studies to write 
many short tales for young people, in an elegant style and with 
unexceptionable tendencies. George Reinbeck (1766) affords a 
similar instance of a literary historian and critic who has written 
several tales, in good taste, and in Opposition to the frivolhy which 
has unfortunately prevailed lately in both German and English 
works of fiction. 1 This frivolity,' he says truly in one of his pre- 
faces, 1 is never an attribute of poetic genius, but is rather a miser- 
able expedient of inferior minds, seeking for popularity.' 

Ernst Wagner (1768-1812) wrote several romantic narratives, 
such as ' The Travelling Painter' (1806), and ' Willibald' (1806), 
which are partly hnitations of Goethe's style in ' Wilhelm Meister.' 
The historical romances of Benedicte Naubert, ' Thekla' (1788), 
and ' Hermaim von Unna ' (1788), are mentioned by Sir Walter 
Scott as sources from which he had derived some suggestions. 
The unpretending authoress, who published them anonymously, 
had the pleasure of receiving her own works as a present from her 
husband, who was unacquainted with their origin. 

Augustus Lafontaine was the writer of numerous sentimental 
novels, once very populär, especially his 1 Domestic Narratives ' 
(1803-1804). Caroline Pichler was another novelist of very 
fruitful invention, whose tales of 1 Leonore,' ' Olivier,' ' The 
Swedes in Prague,' and many others (1812-1820), were accounted 
among the best fictions of her times. 

Friedrich Hölderlin (1770) wrote ' Hyperion ; or the Hermit 
in Greece' (1797), äs a vehiclc for his imaginative views of human 



life. It displays an entlmsiastic admiration of tlie life, poetry, and 
even the religion of ancient Athens. 

Heinrich Zschokke (1771-1847) was remarkable as a man and 
an author. His literary activity extended over more than half a 
Century, and his tales and miscellaneous writings, chiefly of a 
utilitarian character, enjoyed considerable popiüarity. His studies 
were generally directed towards human improvement, as we find 
in his ' Goldmakers' Village,' where he describes the progress of 
industry and civilisation among a degraded population.* 

Ludwig Tieck (1773) has resembled Zschokke in the length of 
his literary career, but in no other respect. Between 1 William 
Lovell' (1795) and 1 Vittoria Accorombona' (1839) a great number 
of novels and tales of various styles, fantastic, visionary, humo- 
rous, and satirical, have been produced by this author, though he 
has been an invalid during the greater part of the time. His 
writings form a library of romance, more likely to excite and con- 
fuse than to clear and refine the mind of a young reader. The 
short tales collected imder the title of ' Phantasus' (1812) present 
the most favourable and populär specimens of Tieck's imaginative 
style. His narratives are often interspersed with reflections on art 
and literature. The following passage contains some just remarks 
on a life devoted to sensuous music and imaginative pleasures ; but 
it should be premised that these censures are only applicable to 
poetry and the fine arts, wken cultivated merely as selfish luxuries. 
The truly great artist, who knows how to unite his creations with 
human interests, and the literary man inspired with noble purposes, 
are not to be ranked among idle dreamers, but rather with the 
greatest benefactors of society. But unhappily there is a class 
of frivolous amateurs in art and literature to whom the followmg 
remarks may be fahiy applied : — 


' Surely it is a noble endeavour in man to create a work of art, 
transcending all the low and common Utilities of life — a work inde- 
pendent, complete in itself, subservient to no utilitarian purpose — ■ 
a beautiful object shining in its own splendour. The instinct to pro- 
duce such a work seems to point more directly to a higher world 

than any other .impulse of our nature And yet this beautiful 

art is a seductive and forbidden fruit ; and he who has once been 
intoxicated with its sweetness, may be regarded as a lost man in 
practical life. He becomes more and more absorbed in his own 
internal pleasures, and at length finds that he has no heart to feel, 
no hand to labour for his fellow-men. Is not such a devotion to art 

* An abridgcd translation of ' The Goldmakers' Village ' may be found in ■ Cham- 
bers's Miscellany of Useful and Entertaining Tracts.' (No. 34.) 



a superstition ? We take one of tlie works of man, the mere product 
of self-pleasing imagination, and in our admiration of this object, we 
forget the whole to which it ought to belong : we forget humanity 
itself. For my part, I am sbocked at my own folly when I reflect on 
my whole life devoted to the luxury of music ! Here I have sat, a 
self-indulging hermit, drawing sensations of sweetness from harmo- 
nious tones ; while all around me the great world of mankind to 
which I belong, and for which I do nothing, is involved in the care 
and strife that must attend its progress. I cannot avoid knowing 
that thousands are sufFering under as many varieties of affliction : I 
know that every Vibration of the pendulum is like the stroke of a 
sword for some fellow-creature, and that the world is crying loudly 
for all possible help— and still here I sit, amusing myself with luxu- 
rious music, as carelessly as a child playing with bubbles ; as if I 
knew nothing of the earnestness either of the life around me or the 

death that awaits me Here is evidently a seductive poison in 

the apparently innocent love of art. The luxurious emotions of the 
artist may overcome the common feelings and interests of humanity. 
In striving to be an artist, I may forget that I am a man. I may 
become like a mere theatrical hero, who fancies bis stage to be the 
real world, looks on the world round bis theatre as a very dull piece, 
and only regards the actions and sorrows of mankind as crude ma- 
terials out of which dramas may be manufactured.' 

We subjoin a short specimen of Tieck's satirieal Immour, whicli 
is certainly legitimately employed in this case : — 


* " It requires some art and good taste," said Lothario, 8 to make a 
dinner or a suppcr-party agreeable." " There inust be harmony," 
said Antonio. "TVhatever the provisions and the display may be, 
they should coi'respond. I do not like indifferent viands and bad 
wine with costly Services. And the case is still worse when your 
host insists on making you accpiainted with the füll value of his hos- 
pitality ; when he will not let you empty a flask of wine without 
drinking in at the same time the information that it cost so much 
per butt, or so much per dozen in bottles. This naturally leads to a 
valuation of the splendid sideboard. But if your host possesses pic- 
tures and rarities of art, alas for you ! He will lead you all over the 
house, will teil the structure and cost of every picture-frame, and 
will give you no rest until he finds that he has produced in you a 
profound sense of your comparative poverty." 

8 Then, in another party," said Lothario, 8 you may always expect 
the grand maternal scene to close the Performances. The dear little 
children are introduced, though we have not had the pleasure of 
their Company during dinner or tea. Now we have the most touch- 
ing narratives of their ideal virtues, and the pathos of the scene 
sometimes draws tears from the good mother. . . . But these are tri- 
vial errors. What shall we say of the terrible great assemblies now 



in fashion ; of parties, so-called, where the known and the unknown, 
little and great, friends and foes, the clever and the dull, young 
ladies and antique dowagers, are arranged together at a long table, 
or series of tables, covered with a banquet — a prodigy of profusion 
and bad taste — the result of eight days of incessant study on the part 
of the hostess, who has apparently endeavoured to discharge all 
her debts of hospitalities by this one vast payment ? What do you 
say of conversation that reminds us of nothing but such noises as we 
may imagine to be mingled in chaos ? How do you like this new, 
barbarian style, which threatens to destroy all social intercourse and 
rational hospitality ?" 

" Why," said Manfred, "if we may compare our friendly little 
parties, in old tinies, with neat and pleasant miniature paintings, I 
suppose we must call this modern fashion the Michael- Angelo style 
of hospitality, for it is certainly very terrible, if not sublime." 1 

Tieck, Fouque, Novalis, Hoffmann, Brentano, and Arnim, 
may be classed together as belonging to the Romantic School of 
fiction, which is distinguished from the Classic School by several 
features; such as mysticism, and a fantastic mixture of natural 
and visionary adventures. Several of the writings of these ro- 
mancists show tendencies in favour of some of the manners and 
customs of the Middle Ages, and also a bias toward the Romish 
Church. Friedrich Schlegel, who belonged to the Eomantic 
School, and Clemens Brentano, one of its writers, practically de- 
veloped the purport of their writings by Submission to Roman 
Catholic doctrines. It may appear Singular to Englisli readers 
that fantastic fiction should be employed as a vehicle to convey 
religious sentiments ; but this is the case in several tales by the 
romancists. These writers have been supported in their par- 
tiality for imaginative and mysterious topics by the Brothers 
Schlegel and others, who wrote in favour of imaginative literature, 
and in Opposition to the philosophy which woulcl reduce history, 
poetry, and religion, to the compass of human comprehension. 
These contrary tendencies, one toward ' mysticism,' and the other 
toward ' rationalism,' are the distinguishing marks of many recent 

Friedrich Hardenberg, generally known by bis assumed name 
Novalis (1772-1801), was the friend of Friedrich Schlegel, and 
wrote a romance styled 1 Heinrich von Ofterdingen, 1 besides seve- 
ral poems and fragments in prose, all pervaded by a mystical philo- 
sophy. Clemens Brentano (1778), the author of ' Godivi ' (1801), 
may be mentioned in connection with his friend Ludwig Arnim 
(1781-1832), one of the most remarkable among the writers of 
fantastic romances. His fictions, 1 The Countess Dolores ' (1810) 
and the ' Crown Guardians ' (1817), describe mystical adventures, 




but display a fine poetical imagination and a fluent style. In the 
former there are passages which show that this writer might have 
succeeded in fictions more accordant with the facts of real life. 
For instance, in the 1 Countess Dolores,' Arnim gives an excellent 
sketch of the character generally known by the name 1 sentimen- 
talist. ' 1 Waller,' the so-called poet, is a man who deludes him- 
self with. a notion that he possesses genius, cultivates no faciüty 
of the mind except imagination, neglects all the common duties 
of life, and, as far as he is able, makes all such names as 1 genius ' 
and 1 poetry ' contemptible. As we have given several extracts 
from portions of literature connected with the interests of real 
life, we may, as a contrast, give the following sketch of a literary 
man of the purely fantastic order : — 


' The count had not been gazing out of the window many minutes, 
before he callod the attention of bis lady to a very picturesque group 
of figures slowly Coming along the carriage-road towards the mansion. 
A man in respectable dress was leading a slow-paced nag, which 
carried a lady who appeared to be an invalid, for she was sup- 
ported in her saddle by several cushions and pillows. Beside these 
two figures, two boys were riding on goats of an unusual large size, 
with long horns. As this group approached the housc, the count 
and his lady went out to meet them. The stränge gentleman, whose 
sunburnt and wrinkled face showed an expression of intelligence, 
immediately addressed the count, and explained that the lady, who 
had been an invalid for some time, had uudertaken this rural journey 
to restore her strength, but had found no benefit in it, and was now 
so much exhausted, that she must beg for permission to rest awhile. 
The count instantly assured the stranger that all the provisions of 
the house were at his Service. The nag was led beside a green 
bank near the garden-house, so that the lady could dismount with- 
out steps ; and her husband led her into the garden-house, where 
she reclined on a sofa. As she raised her veil, she displayed a 
countenance having some beauty, but very pale and languid. She 
now addressed the count, and after thanking him for his kindness, 
assured him that in this instance his hospitality was well bestowed ; 
for he had now the honour of entertaining in his mansion the " cele- 
brated poet Waller," whom to call her husband Avas her highest 
pridc and delight. Hereupon various compliments were exchanged, 
but not without some awkwardness; for the count and Iiis lady 
differed in their opinions of the poet, whose productions they had 
lately read. The count could not say that he regarded all Waller's 
verses as counterfeit coin, and the countess durst not say how much 
she admired them. Waller at first received their compliments in 
a quiet style, and only replied with two or three jocose remarks. 
He then reminded his wife that she must not hurt her ehest by 
talking too much; and accordingly she took up her portfolio and 



crayons, and Legan to sketch the landscape. Meanwhile the two 
boys, who were named Traugott and Alonzo, milked the goats, and 
brought a glass of the milk to their mother, who drank it. As a 
reward for this attention, she told them that now they might play 
whcre they pleased ; and truly they soon began to enjoy this 
liberty in an extreme sensc. Taking sundry playthings from their 
pockets, they bounded away, and soon began to play at hide-and- 
seek. They ran into the hall, explored several rooms in the man- 
sion, and phmdered the garden and the pantry, as if they had no 
morc knowledge of any rights of property than young monkeys. 
The servants were offended, and began to complain ; bat the count 
was highly amused when the father of these ill-bred boys smiled, 
and cooily said, " Ha ! they are training to become such men as the 
future will require (!) — they are acquainted with want, and know 
Low to help themselves. They can soon adapt themselves to any 
new circumstances." 

' As the lady now required rest, the count retired, and led his new 
acquaintance into the house. Here Waller soon became so confi- 
dential, that, with little invitation, he began to give, in an animated 
style, various details of his personal history. We must condense 
his narrative, as it was inflated with many passages of questionable 
sentiment, and numerous quotations from bis own poems. He first 
explained how, like other men of genius, he had been poor, but had 
found a wife who possessed some property. ... As the lady was 
deeply in love with bim, he could not make her unhappy, so he 
married her, though he confessed that he had found (to use his own 
words) " a fatal possession " in a wife ; for the cares of matrimony 
disturbed the development of poetic genius. He had persuaded 
Iiis wife to seil her house in town, in order to purchase a rural 
cottage and a garden which had charmed his fancy once as he rode 
through a lonely part of the country. The lady had at once con- 
sented ; for " in all things she obeys my pleasure " (said Waller), 
and he had travelled down to the romantic cottage to prepare it for 
her reeeption. He spread the bedding and the linen in the sunny 
garden, arranged flower-pots in the Windows, and made a triumphal 
arch of green boughs and flowers over the porch. He then sat in 
the bower, and while waiting for his lady, wrote an inscription for 
the arch, containing the following verses and a few more of equal 
poetic value : — 

" Here now a poet leaves 
All earthly cares and fears ; 
In quietness he waits 
Until Iiis bride appears. 

And when she comes, she reads 
These words, inscribed above 
Our lowly, rustic porch — 
1 Welcome, my lifo, my love ! ' " 

But this speedy arrival was merely imaginary ; for one of the wheels 
of his lady's carriage was broken on the road, and her coming was 



delayed until Waller's patience was exhausted. Besidcs, in Iiis zeal 
about thc flowers, lie Lad forgottcn to provide food ; so the first rural 
dclicacy which he enjoyed in the countiy was a dinner of brown 
bread and milk. At last he became so impatient, that he thrcw 
down the pretty arch, tore the inscription, and received his wife 
with reproaches. However, she spoke kindly, explained the cause 
of her delay, and he was soon restored to good-humour. The next 
morning he had resolved to begin to write a great poem. He had 
long waited for fine weather and rural solitude to produce poetic 
inspiration, and now his desires were granted. He went into Iiis 
study. The day was fine, with a soft south wind and a blue sky, but 
he could not fix his attention on his subject, but sat all the morning 
gazing from the window into the garden, where two hens were 
scratching the ground, and a stout maid-servant was digging up 
potatoes. So one day was passed after another in vain attempts to 
be romantic and happy. He had determined that his wife should 
be, like himself, an enthusiastic admirer of nature ; so he led her 
over the damp pastures, and through plantations of firs, in the eariy 
morning, to see the sun rising ; but this practical poetry was accom- 
panied with such unromantic realities as wet stockings, colds, and 
coughs. Waller was surprised to find that real nature was not so 
pleasant as she had appeared in the verses which he wrote when in 
town, and that the rustics who lived near his cottage were not of 
the Arcadian kind. He read his verses to some of them, but they 
could not understand such poetiw, and still preferred their own 
vulgär stories and jest-books. This w T as in the summer, but in the 
winter rural happiness was sad indeed for Waller. He wrote to 
all his friends, begging them to come and see " a poor poet in a 
w-ilderness ;" but the roads were deep in snow, and no friend 
would undertake the journey. The poet was therefore left in 
domestic quietude, until he became quite weary of the Company of 
Iiis wife, and expressed his unamiable sentiments in such verses 
as the following :— 

" In this, my lonely nest, 

I see no welcome guest ; 

In vain my letters go — 

The ways are deep in snow. 
My heart is restless as an aspen-tree — 
Ah, why did fortime link my wife and nie ? 

She whom I called ' my bride,* 

Sits spinning at my side ; 

From home I long to stray, 

But snowy is the way. 
My heart is restless as an aspen-tree — 
Ah, why did fortune link my wife and mc? " 

« My dear friend," Waller continued, after reciting the above touch- 
ing verses, " I know not how I could have survived that dull winter ; 
but my wife meanwhile presented to me this boy, Alonzo, and thus 
our cottage was enlivened with the Company of nurses and the 



village doctor. This new excitement lastcd until spring appeared, 
and then I hastened away over hill and dale to the book-fair at 
Leipsic, where I hoped to seil my manuscript poem. In my plea- 
snre at finding myself once more in the Society of civilised men, I 
quite forgot my wife, the rural cottage and all the beanties of 
naturc, until one day, as I was sitting at my dessert in Mainoni's 
hotel (I was eating almonds and raisins), the bookseller's boy brought 
to me a letter from my wife ; and what did it contain ? My absence 
had excited my wife, for the first time in her life, to write verses. 
I will quote one stanza from her poem addressed to me : — 

* I see the clouds each other chase 
Across the moon's half-hidden face : 
I envy them ; for they may stray 
To ward my love, so far away.' 

Well, what could I do after reeeiving this tonching letter intreating 
me to return ? I hastened away from Leipsic, and left my transac- 
tion with the bookseller unfinished. For a time I continued my 
studies in our lonely cottage, and my wife (who is a clever artist) 
prepared drawings to illustrate my poem. But now a new trouble 
arose. I had bought a little estate with my cottage, and knew no- 
thing of its management. I was losing money, so I persuaded my 
wife to let me seil the cottage ; and we returned to live in the town 
once more. Here our circumstances began to be straitened; my 
wife was anxious, and worked hard, so that all her drawings were 
finished before half of my poem was written. To incite my in- 
dustry, she now wakened me early every morning, and prepared for 
me a cup of coffee in my study. Of course she meant well in all 
these little attentions and indulgences bestowed on me ; but she did 
not know that all such things tend to depress poetic genins. In a 
gloomy mood I now wrote an elegy, in which I represented myself 
as a weaver, and my wife as a spinster. I will read it to you." 
[Here Waller tried the count's last degree of patience by reciting 
some absurd, sentimental verses, in which he complained that bis 

wife Avas too kind and attentive.] At last, after Waller had 

talked long in a romantic and affected strain, and had also exhibited 
Iiis weakness in a silly dispute with his wife about a mere trifle, the 
count became quite tired of his guest, and honestly told him that 
if his fortheoming volume of poetry might be judged by the speci- 
mens of sentimental taste already given, it could have no value.' 

Bettina (1785), the sister of Brentano, and widow of Arnim, 
resembles these authors in her imaginative character. She wrote 
a singularly enthusiastic book, entitled ' Groethe's Correspondence 
with a Child,' which was gravely aeeepted and criticised by some 
persons as a valid contribution to biography, though it was so 
sentimental and romantic, that Goethe must have laughed at it 
if he had seen it. Imaginative pictures in words, interspersed 
With sentiments, characterise the writings of Bettina and other 



romaneists, while they show little power in the constraction of pro- 
bable plots, or the development of real characters. Such exercises 
of the iraagination rnust hold a subordinate place in literature, as 
the highest class of poetry and fiction is marked by the union 
(not the confusion) of the real with the ideal. The following is 
one of the pictures in words drawn by Bettina : — 


* Here is a little circular chapel. A splendid altar almost fills the 
interior, and at the opposite side an organ projects from the wall. 
Over the altar a large golden pelican, with expanded wings, is feed- 
ing a brood of twelve young ones. As I entered, the light was beara- 
ing through the dark-red and bright-yellow panes of the painted 
wiudows, and spreading like a halo over the golden pelican and the 
altar, covered with rieh decorations, and dressed with fresh roses and 
yellow blies. A young Franciscan monk from the monastery at 
Bauenthal was preaching, and I heard the concluding passage in Iiis 
sermon, which I remember : — " The foxes have holes, and the birds of 
the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay Iiis 
head." " I think of these words when I hear Christians complaining. 
He who, in the fulness of his love, said, 'SufFer little children to 
come unto me,' who cradled on his bosom the head of St John, 
found no place wherein to rest in this world, mnch less one friend 
who could sympathise with and share all his deep sorrows. Yet his 
love, which found no return of gratitude upon earth, did not utter 
itself in complaints, but was transmuted into the divine fire of self- 

sacrifice With such an example before us, shall we, when 

afflicted by the loss of a friend, or any other calamity, hang down our 
heads, and refuse to bear our burthens and fulfil our duties ? Nay, 
rather let us follow the Steps of our Guide, who overcame sorrow 
and death !".... These concluding words of the sermon aecompanied 
me throughout the day, like celestial music or the calm radiance of 
a Sabbath morning. I went down from the upper church into the 
round chapel, where another priest had celebrated the mass. Here 
an aged dame w r as now extinguishing the candles on the altar, I 
asked, " Are you the sacristan ? " and she told me that her son, who 
held that office, was to-day paying a visit to some friends. u And 
where do you find all these beautiful flowers ? " said I, pointing to 
the roses and blies on the altar. She said, " They are all gathered 
out of our garden here close beside the church : my son cultivates 
them." At my request she soon led me into the beautiful and peace- 
ful little nook beside the sanetuary, and we sat down together on a 
little wooden bench in front of her cottage, and under a canopy of 
mingled vine-leaves and roses. The seat was evidently intended to 
aecommodate only one person ; so I held the hand of the old lady to 
support myself. I noticed that her hand seemed to be hardened 
with toil. " Yes," said she, in a tone of perfect contentment, " I ean 
still dig a little ; but the soil here is hard and rocky." Before us 



lay tho little garden basking in sunshine : it secmed likc onc of 
nature's sanctuarics, placed beside the gray walls of thc church ; 
and herc nature, on her simple turf altar, offered np fruits and 
flowers, as her raost beautiful prodnctions, to Heaven. The pebbled 
walks of the garden were trimly bordered with box. I love this 
simple, lowly shrub ; for in the sumraer it is the companion of bright 
flowers, and even in winter it keeps its greenness under the snow. 
The old lady replied to this sentiment in her own style. " Ah," said 
she, " tho box is a hardy thing, and bides all kinds of weather." On 
the left side of the vine-covered cottage the garden-wall was dccked 
with jessamine. Tall blies grew beside the gate, and near them was 
a spreading honeysuckle. A mnlberry-tree flourishcd in one corner, 
and in another two fig-trees spread ont their broad, glossy leaves. 
In a shady nook a fountain of clear water was bubbling into a stone 
trough. The centrc of the little plot of ground was gay with the 
colours of hyacinths, pinks, gillyflowers, and lark-spurs, and the air 
was fragrant with lavender. Canaries were singing in the cottage. 
I feit that I could stay long in this home of Sabbath quietness. And 
now the kind dame shook down some ripe mulberries, and bronght 
them to me upon a large fig-leaf. While I was eating them, she 
culled for me a nosegay of carnations and lark-spurs. As I was 
admiring my bouquet, the door of the cottage was opened, and the 
young priest (who had been taking a humble breakfast prepared for 
him by the old dame) came into the garden, and spoke to me in a 
friendly tone. " Ah," said he, " have you ripe mulberries already ? * 
I presented the fruit to him, and he took two or three, and in my 
confusion (I know not why) it seems I also gave him my nosegay ; 
for I did not know that I had done so until I saw him placing it on 
Iiis sleeve. . . . Such were my little adventures on this quiet Sunday, 
which left such an impression on my memory.' 

Two writers may be mentioned in contrast here, to explain the 
distinction between symbolical and merely fantastic romances. In 
the latter style, Theodor Hoffmann (1776-1824) surpassed 
Richter, Tieck, and Fouque in inventing marvellous incidents, but 
was far inferior to them in poetical genius. His stories mingie 
the circumstances of real modern life with grotesque and visionary 
adventures. No description can be given here of such tales as 
the 1 Night-Pieces ' (1816), ' Serapions Brothers' (1819), < Kater 
Murr' (1820), and the < Princess Brambilla' (1821), any further 
than by saying that they offer deleterious excitements to the hna- 
ginations of young readers. 

Friedrich de la Motte Fouque (1777) rose far above the 
style of his friend Hoffmann, though both employed fantastic mate- 
rials. Fouque leads his readers among mysterious knights, gnomes, 
elfs, fairies, enchanted forests, and talking waterfalls. He uses all 
the means of producing mysterious excitement which are found in 
the romances of Mrs Radcliffe, but without giving natural sohl- 



tions of his wonders in the ingenious mode of this Englisli autho- 
ress. Instead of this, he generally gives a moral Solution. His 
style is clear and fluent ; his descriptions are poetical ; and it is 
often his pleasure to wrap a deep and true moral in the disguise of 
wonderful and supernatural imagery. His works were once much 
admired, especially by young readers, but are now comparatively 
neglected. The 'Magic Ring 1 (1812), 'Thiodolf' (1815), and 
' Undine ' (1819), are the most favourable spechnens. It may be 
questioned whether novels which represent false and romantic 
characters and events as parts of real life, are not more objection- 
able than these fictions of Fouque, in which the incidents are so 
visionary, that they cannot be mistaken forrealities. It is certainly 
desirable that novels and romances should be more clearly distin- 
guished than we find them in many instances. What narae shall 
we find for books which give us neither the truth and reality 
of life, nor the beauty of poetic imagination ? As a specimen of 
Fouque's mysterious and symbolical style, and also of a class of 
fictions very numerous in German literature, we may give the 
following tale. Here, under the disguise of a ghost story, our 
author teils us that an evil passion, such as avarice (presented 
to us as personified in the old man with the ' red mantle '), 
cannot be overcome by the use of its own weapons. The stoiy 
will convey its own moral : — 


' Berthold was a German commercial man, and in one of his solitary 
journeys he encountered the following adventure : — One evening he 
had lost his way in one of the mountainous and thickiy-wooded parts 
of our country : and as he was travelling alone on horseback, and 
carried in his portmanteau a considerable quantity of gold and pre- 
cious articles of trade, he began to be anxious, if not fearful, when 
tlie twilight gathered over Üie oak-trees around hirn, while no path 
was visible. He was now assured that he had wandered into a very 
lonely part of the country ; for even the wild animals, which now 
came out from the thickets, did not look upon him with fear : they 
seemed, indeed, altogether unacquainted with the dangerous powers 
of man ; while the gray owls, with their melancholy hootings, 
fluttered about Iiis Shoulders so nearly, that he often bowed his head 
to prevent their Aying in his face. Berthold feit so lonely in this 
woodland solitude, that the face of any honest man would have been 
the most pleasant sight in the world, and great was his pleasure 
when he saw on the forest-side a man dressed in the humble garb of 
a charcoal-burner. In reply to Berthold's questions, the stranger 
pointed the way to his lonely hut in the forest, and offered to the 
traveller a night's secure rest and guidance on Iiis way in the morn- 
ing. Though Berthold could not distinctly see the face of his 
friend, he followed him until he came to Iiis lonely hut. Here the 



wife of thc charcoal-burner soon came to thc door, bearing a light, 
wliilc scveral cliildren stood behind her ; and as the rays of the 
candle feil upon the piain but honest features of the husband, and 
iüumined the faces of the innocent children, all Berthold's fears and 
suspicions passed away. He now unstrapped bis portmanteau, and 
took it into the cottage, carrying with him also bis pistols, while the 
charcoal-burner led away the horse to a secure place. When the 
host returned, Berthold took the best seat beside the fire, and conver- 
sation soon became interesting. Berthold told tales of bis travels, and. 
thc host talked of the wondrous legends of the woods and mountains. 
At last the children joined in singing a hymn -\vhile their father 
and the stranger were drinking the contents of a bottle of home- 
made perry. At this moment there was a Singular knock at the door. 
" Come in, father !" said the charcoal-burner in a friendly tone. 

' The door was immediately opeiied, and a gray-headed, quiet-Iook- 
ing old man, of very small stature, entered, and aecosted all the 
family in a friendly style, but gazed with an expression of wonder 
on the stranger. Berthold returned the look in a similar style,, 
while the new-comer went to the round table and took a seat on the 
lowcst stool, which seerned to have been left vacant for him. There 
w r as an expression of sorrow on Iiis face, which excited the sympathy 
of Berthold, who wished to ask if this was the grandfather of the 
cliildren. But the old man folded now Iiis hands, and asked the host 
if he was ready for evening-prayer. At this question the husband 
immediately began to sing the fine old hymn — 

" Now all the woods are sleeping, 
Peace over all is spread " — 

while bis wife and all the children joined softly in the melody. But 
the voice of the old man was predominant, and he expressed, by 
several angry glances, Iiis displeasure against Berthold, who did not 
sing. When the hymn and the evening-prayer were concluded, the 
dwarf suddenly rose and left the house ; but, after closing the door, 
he opened it again for a moment, and looking in, threw upoix 
Berthold such a fierce and angry glance, that our traveller was 
amazed at the sudden change of a countenance lately composed in. 
an expression of quietness and devotion. 

" This is not the old man's usual way," said the charcoal-burner 
as an apology to Berthold. 

" He is crazy, I suppose ? " said Berthold. 

• He may be," said the host ; " but he is quite harmless : at least 
he has not done any harm here for a long time. You need have no 
fear, though he has a free entrance into our house at all hours of 
the night. The door of the Chamber where you must sleep does not 
shut, and the old man often wanders into that Chamber ; butlassure 
you he will not hurt you, nor will he even disturb you, if you are as 
sleepy as myself ; for, as you must have observed, he has a very 
light tread, and glides about like a ghost." At this story Berthold 
tried to smiie, but did not feel easy in such mysterious circumstances^ 



Howevcr, after taking up his portmanteau, bis pistols, and a cutlass, 
he followed his host up a very narrow staircase into a low, ruinous 
little Chamber, through which the night- wind whistled. The host, 
after lighting a lamp, and suspending it from the roof, said 8 good- 
night," and Berthold was left to dream of the day's adventures. He 
threw himself upon the lowly bed ; but could not sleep soundly, nor 
could he remain properly awake. Sometimes he fancied that his 
portmanteau was not placed securely on the bed ; sometimes that 
his pistols were not near his band ; then a gust of wind suddenly 
startled him up from his pillow ; then he lay down again, and feil into 
commercial speculations, which were strangely mingled with thoughts 
of the forest, the charcoal-burner and his family, the evening-prayer, 
and the stränge old man. 

' It was now midnight, and though he could not sleep, Iiis eyelids 
were too heavy to be kept open, when he imagined that he heard a 
light sound of footsteps in the Chamber. He looked, but saw nothing 
distinctly. " 'Tis my fancy," said he, as he closed his eyes again. 
But again and again the noise disturbed him, until he arose and saw, 
in the dying glimmer of the lamp, the gray-headed dwarf, who 
seemed to have designs on the portmanteau. " Robber !" exclaimed 
Berthold — " dare not to touch my property !" At this the intruder 
seemed to be terrified : he folded his hands, assumed a devotional 
aspect, and quickly glided out of the Chamber. 

" Oh, he cannot be a robber," said Berthold ; " he is crazy, as my 
host told me ; but, however, I must see that the contents of my port- 
manteau are all right." So saying, he unfastened the Straps, and 
began to turn over the golden treasure which was so dear to him. 
"VVhile thus engaged, he feit that somebody was breathing close 
beside the bed. " It is the wind," said he ; " the window is not 
tight." But again he feit the breath upon his cheek, and tuming his 
face, he suddenly met the aspect of the old man, who had been also 
gazing into the portmanteau. At first Berthold was terrified ; but 
he collected his courage, and said — " What do you want here ? 
Go to bed and warm yourself, old man." 

" Ah,my bed is cold enough," said the stränge visitor ; " but I love 
to see such shining gold as you have here ! Yet I know where there 
is far more of it — gold— heaps of gold— plenty !" 

<£ Is this all a dream ?" said the traveller inwardly : " am I asleep 
or awake ? What do you mean, old man % " And so ready were the 
thoughts of Berthold to turn to profit every adventure, that he even 
entertained the supposition that in this stränge way he might hear 
tidings of some hoard of gold. " What mean you, old man ?" said 
he. " Where is the gold of which you speak ?" 

" I will show you if you will come with me," said the dwarf. * It 
is under the earth — in the forest — under the moorland." The 
speaker's face showed stränge excitement. 

" Well ; if I venture to go with you ?" said Berthold. 

* I will be back in a minute," said the old man, going cut of the 
Chamber. " I must put on my niantle." 



* He had not been out of the Chamber more tlian a minute, when 
another figure entered. This seemed taller than the former onc, and 
was covered from head to foot in a blood-red mantle. He held a 
drawn sword in one hand and a musket in the other. " Now," said 
Redmantlo, " come along ! Let us hasten to the forest !" 

' Berthold seized Iiis weapons. " With you ! " he exclaimed : ** I 
■will not leave the house with you ! Where is the little old man ?" 

u Ha ! you do not know me in this dress !" said Redmantie, 
throwing back the red cloak from Iiis face, ßerthold recognised 
the featurcs of the dwarf ; but their quiet aspect was now changed 
into a fierce and eager expression. 

"I teil you I will not go with you," said Berthold firmly, still 
holding Iiis weapons ready for action. 

"Bat you shall ! " said Redmantie, stretching out Iiis arms to seize 
Berthold, who at that moment fired a pistol at the stränge figure. 
Suddenly noises were heard in the house : the host was hastening in 
alarm toward the Chamber of Iiis guest, and the unwelcome visitor 
left the Chamber, throwing back an angry glance on Berthold. 

"Good sir," exclaimed the poor charcoal-burner, as he entered 
the Chamber, " what have you done ? You have roused up our 
Jcobold, our house-goblin, who has been quiet so long. On the stairs 
I met bim in Iiis red mantle, bearing a sword, and looking very 

" Your kobold ! your house-goblin ! * What can you mean ? " 
said the bewildered traveller. 

" I will teil you all about it," said the host, " if you will come 
down to the living-room ; for my wife and the children are there, 
and I must remove their fears." 

* Berthold was ready to go down stairs, as he did not like to remain 
alone in the narrow Chamber. He took his weapons and the 
portmanteau, and went down to the room where the family was 
assembled. The children were trembling, and looked now upon 
our traveller with suspicious glances, while their father told the 
following stränge tale : — 

Ä Sir, when first I came to live in this cottage, the unearthly being 
who haunts this neighbourhood always appeared in the terrible form 
in which you have just now seen Mm. No charcoal-burner would 
live in this part of the forest; for the wanderings of the unquiet 
spirit extended over a wide circle. It is said that, in Iiis former 
State of existence, he was a wealthy but very selfish man who lived 
on this spot, and that he buried treasures of gold in a secret part of 

* The demonology of Germany is very extensive, and has been interwoven in so 
many poems and prosc-fictions, that an acconnt of German literature would be 
imperfect if it did not contain some specimen of such narratives, The ' kobold,' or 
• hausgeist,' was a ghost of domestic habits, and attached to some locality. He was 
sometimes harmless, and even useful, but at other times spiteful, and demanding 
very respectful treatment. In the present tale, which contains a moral, the 
4 kobold' symbolises the spirit of avarice, which had been subdued by the content- 
ment and piety of the charcoal-burner and his family, but was awakened and 
cxcited by the presence of a similar spirit in Berthold. 



the forest, It is also said that, to frighten strangers and travellers 
from the spot, he sometimes appeared, while living, in the garb and 
with the weapons which you have seen to-night. He died, and lcfc 
110 sign of the place where his gold was buried. Indeed it seems 
that he had lost his reason and forgotten his own secret ; for he was 
seen nightly prowling through the forest, and uttering cries like one 
who seeks what he cannot find. Such was the tale told to nie when 
I came to dwell here ; but I said, 1 Let me pray, and live piously, and 
the evil one can do nie no härm.' But I assure you that, for some 
tirae after our arrival, my wife and the children were sorely terrified 
by the nightly visits of the old man in the red mantle." 

" Ah ! " said the wife ; " and now we shall have the old trouble 
over again." 

' Atthis moment the doorof the hut was shaken violently, and the 
children began to cry ; but the father stepped to the door and said 
in a loud and firm voice, " Hence, evil one, and vex us no longer ! " 
The sound of a rashing wind followed this exorcism, and then all 
was quiet again, and the father proceeded in his story : — 

" We continued to use the best means of prayers and pious living 
to subdue the violence of our ghostly disturber, until we succeeded 
so far, that he laid aside Iiis red mantle, came gently to our door 
every evening at the hour of prayer, and seemed disposed to be 
friendly. His aspect was composed and quiet, and even his stature 
seemed less than that of the figure in the red mantle. But now, in 
some way which I cannot understand, your appearance here, sir r 
lias awakened in him all his former violence, and we shall require 
some pains and patience before we again subdue him. However,. 
children, be not afraid. Prayers and patience have availed once 
in this trouble, and we must now employ them again. Don't fear 
him, my good wife. "We shall subdue Redmantle once more." 

' With this assurance, the wife and the children were coniforted, 
and looked cheerfully at the father ; but Berthold still feit like a 
man who awakes in the night, and cannot shake off the impression 
of a dream. He said to himself — " I must have a fever 
which has affected my head, and all the stränge adventures of this 
night must be delusions." Then he suspected that the apparently 
honest host must be the ally of some band of robbers, and that Red- 
mantle would soon return (perhaps with some aecomplices) to seize 
the portmanteau. With these thoughts, Berthold became so excited, 
that he could rest no longer in the cottage. He called for his steed, 
and the eldest boy mstantly ran to the door to fulfil the stranger's 
Orders. The father said, " You will do better to stay until daylight. 
I cannot say what you may meet in the forest during the night." 
But our traveller imagined that this invitation was coldly or in- 
sincerely given, and he could read in the faces of all the family that 
they wished the stranger to leave their dwelling. When his horse 
was saddled, and the portmanteau was fixed in its place, he offered 
money to the charcoal-burner, who firmly refused to aeeept it. A 
cold farewell was exchanged, and Berthold rode away in a State of 



Singular cxcitcment — Iiis mind being occupicd by many conflicting 

'Like otlicr men wlio lived in Iiis times, lic had bcen taught to 
believc that supernatural agents are sometimes employcd to point 
out thc hiding-places of treasures of gold, and thc adventures of 
this night seemed to confirm Iiis faith in such events. As he rode 
along in thc dim forest, he muttered to himself — "Perhaps Red- 
mantle may be right, and the charcoal-burner may be wrong. If 
my visitor was not a spectre, then my host had some plot against 
nie, and I have done well in leaving Iiis hut ; but if it was a spectre, 
its object may be to point out the place of hidden treasure, and I 
may be the happy man destined to discover it. Courage ! the 
adventure of this night may make nie a wcalthy man." 

* He had hardly uttered these words, when, turning his head, he 
saw Redmantie close beside him. The apparition seemed to have 
heard the soliloquy, and nodded its head in approbation of the reso- 
lution of Berthold, who now endeavoured to maintain all the courage 
he had summoned. However, he could not speak a word to Iiis 
stränge companion ; but Redmantle soon broke the silence by saying 
— "I say, my good friend, I have had a very dull life for some 
years with the poor charcoal-burner and his family there. The per-, 
petual psalm-singing and praying quite wore me down, until I 
became a little, feeble, low-spirited old man, such as you saw. But 
your coming at first excited me strangely, and then encouraged me 
to return to my old ways again. I saw in you something that 
reminded me of my former seif ; for I know you love hunting for 
gold as I used to love it, and as I love it now again. How the 
Company of a fellow-spirit animates me ! You see how much I have 
grown in one night ; and I shall now continue to grow higher and 
higher still ! But no more words ! Let us dig for the gold ! You 
see that hillock ? There it lies ! Ho, ho ! the charcoal-burner is 
too stupid for this work. I could never excite him to it. Come 
along ! " 

' Berthold dismounted, and after tying the bridle to the branch of 
a tree, followed the apparition to the hillock, which was covered 
with the cones of the fir-tree. " Dig — dig," said Redmantle ; and 
Berthold began to turn up the earth with his dagger, while Iiis com- 
panion laboured violently with Iiis bare hands, tearing up the ground, 
from which a sulphurous smoke issued, until they discovered two 
earthen vessels, which broke in pieces, and disclosed their Contents — 
mere ashes ! At this disappointment the restless demon began to 
wring his hands, moaned dismally, and pointed to another hillock. 
Berthold followed, and both began to dig ; but their efforts ended 
again in the same disappointment— they found nothing but ashes ! 
From one hillock they passed to another, and laboured vainly, again 
and again, until our traveller was exhausted, but still durst not dis- 
obey the commands of Redmantle, who, becoming more and more 
exasperated and violent, Struck his fists against the ground until 
sparks llew from it, and angrily accused Berthold of having found 



and secreted gold in tlie forest. The red mantle streamed in the 
air, the figure of the spectre rose higher and higher, and assunied 

violent and threatening attitudes, nntil Berthold caught a glimpse 

of morning-light, and heard the cock crow and the morning-bell 
tolling in a neighbouring village. Eedmantle was seen no more by 
our traveller, who soon found Iiis steed, and rode away, not being 
able to determine whether he had been awake or dreaming during 
the night 

4 Several years passed away, during which time Berthold was 
employed in mercantile transactions in foreign countries ; but when 
he returned towards bis home, and found that bis road led bim near 
the mysterious forest, he feit a longing, which he could not resist, to 
visit oncc more the cottage of the charcoal-burner, and to hear the 
sequel of Redmantle's history. Accordingly, late one evening he 
arrived at the hut, where he was soon recognised by all the family. 
The children were taller than before, but all things besides in this 
lonely hut in the forest remained unchanged. The contrast between 
this sameness and the changing business of the great world in which 
our traveller had been engaged was striking. Again the charcoal- 
burner brought out a bottle of home-made perry to refresh his 
guest ; again the children were assembled around the table at the 
hour of prayer, and Berthold saw, with some dread, the same low 
stool left vacant for the unearthly visitor. His host seemed to guess 
the thoughts which were passing in his mind, and at once dispersed 
his fears by saying — " Sir, I know not what passed between you and 
our stränge visitor when you lodged here some years ago, but I can 
assure yoxi that we have had since then all our troubles revived again. 
The restless spirit of Eedmantle Avas excited by some encourage- 
inent which your presence afforded, and for some months after you 
went away, he was roaming in the forest, and disturbing our house 
every night. But that is all over now, and he is again subdued. 
You are welcome, sir ; yet I would not invite you to stay with us if 
I did not trust that you will show, whatever may happen, a pious and 
liumble disposition ; for it is ichen our own minds are ill-regulated 
that %oe are most subject to the disturbance of evtl powers. It is our 
time for prayer, and I hope you will join in our devotion." 

' Then the father began the hymn, and all the children and 
Berthold joined in singing : 

" New all the woods are slecping, 
Peace over all is spread ; 
Angels their watch are keeping 
O'er every nuinbered head." 

While they were singing, a mild radiance gleamed suddenly through 
the apartment, and a melodious, soft sound, like that produced by 
musical glasses, was heard at the window. When the children had 
retired to rest, Berthold inquired the meaning of this phenomenon. 

u That," said the host, " is the only way in which our nightly 
visitor now makes us aware of his presence. You see that humility 
and prayer can subdue even the most restless spii'its." 



'Berthold rode away, in a meditative mood, and saw no more 
alarming apparitions in the forest. How far his adventures may be 
attributed to the play of imagination it is impossible to say truly at 
this distance of time ; but if his experience in the hut of the poor 
charcoal-burner must be regarded as a dream, it was certainly a 
dream possessing sorae significance.' 

Heinrich Steffens, a Norwegian (1776), is known chiefly as a 
writer on philosophy and natural history. His fictions ' Walseth 
and Leith ' (1826), 1 The Four Norwegians ' (1827), and « Malcolm' 
(1834), are deficient in unity and narrative interest, as they are 
often interrupted by reflections on various public events ; but they 
contain some good descriptions of scenes and manners in Norway. 


' Remnants of those ancient and child-like fancies and superstitious 
legends which have been driven away by the conventional tastes of 
modern times, are still found in the more lonely and romantic dis- 
tricts of Denmark and Norway. Tarne scenery and tarne poetry, 
cultivated fields and educated minds, orderly, rectangular streets 
and logical notions, are naturally found together, while, if we would 
discover any relics of the wild and beautiful fantasies of early times, 
we must turn aside from the abodes of civilisation, and wander 
among uncultured mountains and secluded Valleys. These old le- 
gend s arose in the days when rude nature in her primeval mystery 
lay all around the haunts of men, while her phenomena sometimes 
excited terrors, and at other times inspired delight. Well might our 
ancestors, who had to contend for existence with the vast powers of 
nature, conceive of such adventures as combats with giants and 
genii ; for such tales, indeed, were Symbols of the condition of human 
society. The unmeasured forests wore a threatening aspect, and the 
wild animals which came out from their gloomy recesses sometimes 
seemed to be united in a league against mankind ; rocks impended 
over the traveller in the narrow valley ; loud waterfalls, with voices 
of thunder, proclaimed the power of nature, and few and feeble were 
the contrivances of art to relieve the gloom and mystery of long and 
stormy nights in winter. Such were the externa! circumstances fa- 
vourable to the growth of a romantic imagination ; and we may also 
observe that the feelings of men, not yet softened and relaxed by ease 
and indulgence, were more intense in hope, or fear, or joy, than we 
can expect to find them in highly-civilised society. But with stern 
and strong feelings, our Scandinavian ancestors united some gentle 
virtues. Resignation to want and suffering was often found con- 
nected with courage and energy in the hour of peril 

' Amid my researches in natural history, I had always a great 
curiosity in exploring what I may call the physiognomy of the le- 
gends of various districts, or, in other words, the resemblance which 
these legends bear to the natural scenery amid which they had their 



birth. Various districts are marked by the prevalcnce of various 
kinds of plants and grasscs; granite, limestone, and other rocks 
give peculiar formations to chasms, hüls, and Valleys, and these dis- 
tinctions affect the varieties of trees. The effects of light and shade 
an the morning and the evening, the aspects of waters, and tones of 
waterfalls, are various in various districts. And, as I have oftcn 
imagined, the natural characteristics of a district may be recognised 
in its legends. I know no better instances to support my supposi- 
tion than such as may be found on the northern side of the Hartz 
Mountains, where a marked difference may be noted between the 
legends of the granite district and those of a neighbouring district of 
another formation. The old stories that may be collected between 
the Ilse and the Ocker certainly differ in their colouring from the 
tales preserved among the peasantry in Budethal or Selkethal ; while 
the legend of Hans Heüing in Bohemia is a genuine production of a 
granite district. Turning to the flat districts in Denmark, we find 
old stories bearing the impress of the country. Seeland, the island- 
liome of my childliood, is, on the whole, a level country, and only 
here and there hilly ; but in some parts it can show prospects of sur- 
passing beauty. The hüls are rounded with an indescribable graee- 
fulness ; there is a charm in the fresh greenness of the pastures ; the 
beech-woods have an imposing and venerable aspect ; the sea winds 
its arms about amid the verdure of these woodland solitudes, and 
lakes of silver brightness lie encircled by graceful trees. The leaves 
rustling, brooks murmuring, the sounds of many insects, the plain- 
tive notes of birds, and the gentle plashing of waves upon the lonely 
shore, are the only sounds which break the silence. While I write of 
such a scene, I feel a longing to return to the cmiet home of my 
childliood. In such a solitude I have sometimes feit as if I had ap- 
proached the sacred resting-place of one of the old northern deities, 
and have almost feared lest I should disturb his long sleep. Here is 
the hiding-place of the old legends, and in such a solitude we still 
may feel their power. When twilight gathers over woods, lakes, and 
pastures, we may see once more the phantom-ships, guided by de- 
parted spirits of the olden times, sailing among the green islands ; we 
may hear the melancholy dirges for fallen heroes ; or the plaintive 
song of the foi'saken maid ; and when the Storni is bending all the 
boughs of the beech-wood, we may hear, blended in the gale, the 
loud cries of the wüd huntsman and his followers.' 


1 The valley was bounded on the east side by abrupt walls of rock, 
covered with dark and lofty fir-trees. On the west, the hüls rose 
gradually, and were marked here and there with lowly homesteads. 
Between these boundaries an irregularly-shaped lake extended along 
the valley. Towards the north a rudely-constructed bridge of 
twenty arches stretched across the narrowest part of the lake, and 
formed a path to the old stone-built church, which stood on a little 
JaJU now covered with leafless trees. Another church of modern 



datc, Luilt of wood in the cruciform style, stood at the distancc of 
about a quarter of a mile from the former. Through this Valley the 
high road from Christiania to Bergen cxtends, and winds along one 
of the most mountainous districts of Norway. The central objeet in 
the scene was a spacious farm-house, with its extensive outbuildings, 
situated near the highway. It was two storeys in hcight, built of 
planks which were painted yellow, and now the windoAvs of the upper 
rooms were burnished by the light of the rising sun. The front-door, 
painted white, with its handle of polished brass, the neat gate and 
palings enclosing a garden which extended from the front of the house 
to the road, and other signs, indicated the respectability and good 
taste of the owner ; while the outbuildings, consisting of cattle stalls, 
a brewery, a house for the servants, and a granary raised upon blocks 
of stone and piles (to preserve grain and fürs from vermin), told of 
bis amuence. These buildings enclosed a quadrangle, and in the 
middle of one of the outer walls, near the lake, a toAver bearing a 
clock, with bright figures on its dial, rose over the gateway. In the 
midst of the new-fallen snow which had covered the valley, and in 
the cold light of early winter morning, this dwelling bore a friendly 
aspect, and gave assurance of human comfort in a severe clime. 
Across the lake the mountain rose steeply, its sides here and there 
covered with tall firs drooping their snow-laden branches ; while, in 
places bare of trees, long icicles, glittering like diamonds, depended 
from the rocks, or formed perfect columns, reaching down to the 
masses of ice which lay below, piled up in many fantastic forms, but 
chiefly resembling enormous Clusters of grapes. In places where the 
ice-columns were broken, the black surface of the rocks was seen 
in bold contrast. The cottages of the peasants scattered over the 
vailey were built of timber, and green moss filling all the joints of 
the planks, made them appear like rude log-huts, while their small 
Windows of green glass, dim and dusty, gave no favourable signs of 
love of cleanliness and neatness in the inmates. This well-peopled 
valley, embosomed among the mountains, bears marks of population 
in ancient times. The numerous grave-hillocks bordering the road 
to Bergen, keep in remembrance the days of our heathen ancestors ; 
while the old stone church (called Uldnaes) teils its tale of the times 
when the Roman Catholic religion prevailed in this country.' 

Justinus Kerner (1786), well known as a writer on { somnam- 
bulism ' and other mystical theories, has written some liumorous 
tales. In one, he ridicules the pedantry of the supposed university 
of Mittelsalz, where professors boast that tliey can make a great 
scliolar even out of a dunce. One incident will be a fair specimen 
of Kerner's liumorous style. He visits the university town, and 
remembers that, on a former occasion, he had left bis walking-stick 
at a hotel. He finds now that the landlord, after keeping the 
stick for some time, had allowed one of the learned professors to 
take it away. As he proceeds along the street, a dull-looking stu- 



ger:,ian LITER atuee. 

dent meets him, and exclaims, ' My dear sir, do you not recognise 
your friend? I am your old walking-stick ! One of the professors 
took me under his care, and has made me such a scholar, that I am 
now employed in writing reviews ! ' One of the great inventions 
for which the university of Mittelsalz was famed is worthy of 
notice, on account of its benevolent intention. It is described by 
Kerner in the following passage : — 


'The artist (who had been engaged in painting) now descended 
from Iiis scaffold, and after complimenting nie as an admirer of 
genius, invited me to step into his house and behold a great inven- 
tion which he had almost brought to perfection. I and my companion 
accepted this invitation, and, as we walked toward his house, the 
artist said to me, " Sir, if the world continues to improve (as I trust 
it will), this invention of which I am so proud will, in the course of 
time, entirely abolish the old plan of employing living and intelligent 
beings to carry weapons. You shall see that I can do their business 
with wood-work. Step in, gentlemen." When we had entered his 
house, the great artist carefully bolted the front-door ; " for," said he, 
" my discovery is at present a mystery, and I do not wish any prema- 
ture descriptions of it to go abroad. Now you must be prepared to 
see in this 'Surrogate for soldiers' that simplicity which, as you 
know well, characterises all truly great inventions." My companion, 
Moses, was now very nervous, and looked anxiously at the bolted 
door, as he expected that some tremendous engine of warfare would 
be soon brought into play. The artist noticed the alarm of my 
friend, and said, " You may be quite easy, as there is no danger ; for 
you must know that my invention has two sides, of which one repre- 
sents a soldier in time of peace (which is done), while the war-side 
is not quite finished. You shall now see my model military man." 
So saying, he stooped, and drew from its hiding-place, under a bed, 
the wonderful machine, which was nothing more than a flat board, 
cut into the likeness of a human figure. He turned it, and we saw 
a front view of a soldier painted as in füll uniform, and Standing on 
guard, but fast asleep. Of course Moses was at once relieved from 
all his fears, and I looked like a disappointed man. The artist 
noticed my dull look, and said, • I daresay you do not see all the 
merits of this invention at once. It is not probable that you will. 
They are simple, and yet recondite. But I will explain a few of them. 
Please to observe, then, that this humble Surrogate has the following 
advantages over the living soldiers who are at present employed by 
the public at such a vast expense : — In the first place, if you say, 
'This soldier will do no useful work ;' granted — but you must also 
remember that, as he will not work, so he will neither eat nor drink ; 
and with regard to the article of dress, he will require only, about 
once in ten years, a new coat of paint. Secondly, I will Warrant 
that ho shall stand against bullets and bayonets better than any 


troops that can be namcd ; and lastly — and wliat an advantage tliis 

must bc !— tliis soldier will never thinh /" 

' I-could not refuse to acknowleclgo that thcrc were somc very 
good points in tliis invention.' 

The well-known tale of { Peter Schlemihl,' by Adalbert 
Ciiamisso, may be classed with fantastic tales, as it relates tlie 
adventures of a man who sold Iiis shadow for a large sum of 
money, and found afterwards that he had made a bad bargain. A 
short extract from ' Peter Schlemihl ' will be a fair specimen of 
the wild and fantastic adventures found in many German fictions. 
The only interest or merit of such tales must lie in the natural 
development of character, after a writer has taken the liberty of 
placing his hero in supernatural circumstances. If any moral can be 
extorted from such an adventure as the following, it must be, that 
gold is not to be esteemed in itself, and that it is dearly obtamed 
at the cost of any part, yea, or even the ' shadow ' of humanity : — 


[' Peter Schlemihl, after being introduced to a stränge man in a 
gray coat, wlio appears to have an unbounded command of wealth, 
is surprised by a very Singular proposal. The stranger possesses a 
curious little bag, which has the property of being always filled with 
gold: it is indeed an unfailing purse — an inexhaustible fountain, 
from which gold pieces may be poured out ad libitum. This won- 
derful bag the stranger offers to give in exchange for Peter's 
shadow ; and, after some hesitation, the bargain is made.] "Done!" 
said I, taking the bag : — " For this good purse you shall have my 
shadow ! " The man in the gray frock instantly Struck the bargain, 
and kneeling down before me, he, with admirable dexterity, rolled 
up my shadow from head to foot on the grass, then took it up, and 
put it into his pocket. As he walked away, I fancied that I heard 
him imvardly chuckling, as if he had outwitted me. I never realised 
the consequences of my bargain before it was done. But now I 
stood, astonished and bewildered, in the füll glare of sunshine, and 
without a shadow! When I recovered my senses, I hastened to 
leave the place. Having filled my pockets with gold pieces, I put 
the cord of the purse round my neck, and hid it in my bosom. 
Having escaped unnoticed from the park, I found the public road, 
and walked towards the town. I was lost in a reverie until I ap- 
proached the gate, when I heard a scream behind me, and looking 
round, saw an old woman, wlio followed me, and cried. out, " Why, 
sir — sir, you have lost your sliadow ! " I was really obliged to the 
old dame for her reminding me of my case ; so I threw to her a few 
gold pieces, and then stepped into the deep shade under some trees. 
But when I arrived at the town-gate, my memory of the stränge 
bargain was again refreshed as I heard the sentry mutter, " Where 
has the gentleman left his shadow?" As I hastened along the 



strcet, I passed two women, one of whom exclaimed, "Blessed Mary, 
preserve us ! that man has no shadow." I hastened away from 
tHem, and contrived to keep under tlie shade of the houses until I 
came to a wide part of the street which I must cross in order to 
arrive at mylodgings; but, most unhappily, just as I passed into 
the broad glare of the sunshine, a day-school was turning out its 
crowd of unruly boys, and a wicked, high-shouldcred little imp (I 
remember him well) immediately detected my imperfection. " Ha, 
ha ! " he shouted maliciously, " here's a curiosity ! Men generally 
have shadows when the sun shines. Look, boys — look at the gentle- 
man with no shadow !" Enraged, I threw about nie a handful of 
nioney, to disperse the crowd of boys, and then callcd a hackney- 
coach, into which I leapt, to hide myself from my fcllow-crcatures. 
" So," said I to myself, " I have bartered away my conscience for 
gold ; and now I would forfeit all my gold to recover a shadoAv!" 
My feelings overcame me, and hiding my face in my hands, I wept. 
When the coach arrived at my lodgings, I would not get out, but 
ordered all my packages to be put inside, and after paying my old 
landlord well, told the coachman to drive to the principal hotel in 
the town, which luckily had a north aspect. Here I escaped from 
the public gaze, and after hiring one of the front rooms, I told the 
waiter that I must be closely engaged for several hours. So he 
closed the door upon me, promising that I should not be disturbed. 
And now what did I do ? I am ashamed to confess my weakness 
and folly even to a friend. I endeavoured to console my Sensation 
of loss by making a display of my Avonderful wealth. I took the 
purse from my bosom, and scattered gold pieces upon the floor, 
and stared at them in wild excitement, and then scattered more 
gold upon them, and conjured up visions of all the Scheines I might 
realise with this wealth, and endeavoured to count my loss of a 
shadow as nothing, until, exhausted by many thoughts and strong 
feelings, I lay down and feil asleep upon my riches. . . . When I 
awoke, the hotel was silent — no servants were moving, and I found 
that it was early in the morning. Now I did not know what to do 
with the gold that lay thickly about me, for the purse Avould not 
hold it. After some perplexity, I concealed it in a large cupboard, 
and putting a few pieces into my pockets, I returned the purse to its 
hiding-place under my waistcoat. As soon as I heard the servants 
stirring, I ordered breakfast (for I was now very hungry), and Avhile 
taking this meal, my conversation with the landlord induced me to 
Iure as a servant a man called Bendel. I liked Iiis honest face, and 
it has not deeeived me ; for Iiis kind and trusty Services have often 
consoled nie in my troubles on aecount of my very serious loss. 
Bendul went out to execute my Orders, and in the course of the 
day my Chamber (where luckily not one direct ray of sunshine in- 
truded) was crowded with shoemakers, tailors, and all kinds of 
tradesmen, for whose commodities I was glad to pay in ready money, 
in order to diminish the störe of gold pieces in the cupboard. In 
the evening I commanded Bendel to light a number of wax-candles, 



and to disposc thcra so as not to expose my singular deficicncy to 
the eyes of the waitcrs. This poor fellow, whom I had made ac- 
quaintcd with my casc, sinccrcly pitied me, and was always ready to 
do anything to rcmedy the dcfcct. But when the candles were 
lighted, I was tired of my imprisonment in my Chamber, and was 
seized by a streng temptation to venture out in the street, and test 
the public opinion on my case by moonlight. I could not resist it, 
but put on my cloak, pulled my hat over my eyes, and stepped into 
the street, trembling Üke a malefactor, though I was only an unfor- 
tunate man who had suffered a heavy loss. The moon was shining 
brightly enough, too brightly, indeed, for my purpose. For some 
distance I crept along in the shade of the houses, until at last I sum- 
moned up my courage, and made my appearance in an open moonlit 
space. I soon discovered the effect produced. Some women passed, 
and expressed their pity for mc ; two or three stout broad-shouldered 
men, apparently proud of their own broad and black shadows (how I 
envied them !), made some jocose and sneering remarks ; but a pretty 
maiden, who was Walking with her parents, wounded my feelings 
most deeply, though she said nothing. She threw a hasty glance 
upon me, then looked down at the spot where my shadow ought to 
have been, and then, with an expression of wonder and alarm, drew 
her veil over her face, and hurried along. I was immediately con- 
vinced that I could no longer hope to maintain a respectable Station 
in society, and, with miserable feelings, Unding myself condemned to 
live in perpetual twilight, I crept back into the shade. What a bar- 
gain I had made ! Possessing boundless wealth, I was scorned by 
old women and penniless schoolboys ; the sentry at the gate, with 
hardly a heller in Iiis pocket, pitied me; and now my appear- 
ance had alarmed a pretty maiden ! I hastened back to my hotel, 
and passed a sleepless night. ... In the morning I sent Bendel 
out to make all possible inquiries about the man in the gray 
frock. When he returned, he told me that he had heard no news of 
such a person ; but that a stranger near the town-gate had sent a 
inessage to me. "What is it?" said I, and Bendel gave me this 
disheartening reply : — " The stränge man stopped me near the gate, 
and said, ' Teil Mr Peter Schlemihl that, as the wind is favourable, 
I am just now embarking for a long sea-voyage, but after a year and 
a day, I shall see him again, and shall propose to him another little 
bargain, which I hope will please him as well as our last transaction. 
Meanwhile, present my best respects to Mr Schlemihl.' " When I 
assured poor Bendel that the stranger was the very man I wanted 
to see, my servant uttered many vain and loud reproaches on his 
own want of sagacity. In vain I sent him immediately to the har- 
bour — several ships had sailed for various parts of the world — the 
gray man had vanished, and with him all hope of regaining my 
invaluable shadow!' 

Augustus Steigentesch (1774-1827), a military officer in the 
Austrian service, wrote several short stories in a lively style. 



Heinrich Kleist, another military man, wrote a remarkable 
story entitled ' Kohlhaas,' containing the experience of a man, 
once honest and industrious, who was driven to desperation by 
the oppressive treatment of a nobleman, and exercised his ven- 
geance upon general society. The numerous short tales and 
novels of Leopold Schefek, who has been mentioned as a writer 
of didactic poetry, are chiefly intended to convey the same lessons 
of mystical philosophy and benevolent morality which are found 
in his poems. Gerhard Strauss (1786) wrote a tale, ' The Auto- 
biography of a Young Clergyman,' in a didactic and sentimental 
tone, which has been admired by many, and frequently translated. 
The romances of Philipp Eehfues (1779), ' Scipio Cicala' (1831), 
'The Castle of Gozzo' (1834), and 'The New Medea,' are su- 
perior to many modern fictions in liveliness of description and 
elegant style. 

Karl Immermann (1796-1840) wrote two romances— 'Die Epi- 
gonen ' (1836), which contains many descriptions of modern cha- 
racters, and ' Münchausen ' (1838), which consists of two dissimilar 
parts. The first contahis many remarks on modern literature, 
mixed with personalities ; while the second gives some beautiful 
and poetical pictures of rural life in Westphalia. This work may 
perhaps be classed with the writings of the romancists, as its 
interest clepencls rather on its poetic character than on its plot 
and construction. The same remark will apply to the romances 
of Joseph Eichendorff (1788), which, while they disappoint the 
novel-reader by their want of plot and development, are snited to 
delight persons of an imaginative disposition. One of these tales 
is entitled ' The Life of a Good-for-Nothing ' (1826), and is füll of 
the natural buoyancy and careless humour which characterise the 
hero. The following passage will give some idea of the story: — 


■ I sce the pleasant country — hail 

Anstrian woods and birds and streams ! 
The Danube glitters from the vale, 

St Stephen 's steeple yonder gleams 
Over the hüls so far away, 
As if it welcomed me to-day ! 

Vivat, Austria ! ' 

' I was singing the last verse of the song, as I stood on the lull 
•which commands the first prospect of Austria, when suddenly a 
trio of wind-instruments sounded out sweetly from the wood behind 
me, and aecompanied my voice. I turned round, and saw three 
young men in long blue mantles. One blew an oboe, another a 
clarionet, and the third, with a Singular cap on his head, played the 
French horn. To mend the concert, I pulled out my fiddle and played 
away with them, singing heartily too. At this they seemed amazed, 



and looked one at anotlicr, likc mcn who have made a great mis- 
take. The Fronch Horn (thc playcr I mean) allowcd Iiis puffed-out 
cheeks to collapse, and looked very carnestly at me, while I civilly 
rcturned the stare. He stepped nearer to me, and said — " The fact 
is, \ve guessed, by your frock, that you were an Englishman, and 
thought \ve might win a trifle, as a viaticum, froni you ; but it secms 
you too are a musician." I confessed that this was the better gucss 
of the two, and that I had just rcturned from Lome, and had found 
it neccssary to scrape my way over the country with a fiddle. 
" Ha ! " said he, " a siugle fiddle cannot do much now-a-days : " here 
he stepped to a little fire on the ground bcside the wood, and began 
to fan it with Iiis cap — " the wind-instruments do the work far better 
you see. When we pop on a rcspectable family at diuner-time, 
we just step quietly into the portico, and blow as hard as we can, 
until one of the servants comes out, glad to give money, or victuals, 
anything to stop our noise. But the cofiee is hot now. Won't you 
take breakfast with us ? " I readily accepted this invitation. We 
sat near the fire on a green bank, and the two rausicians began to 
untie little buudles, and took out some slices of bread. A pot of 
coffee and milk was soon prepared, of which the Oboe and the 
Clariouet drank alternately ; but the French Horn said, as he 
handed to me half a buttered roll, " I don't like that black mix- 
ture: this is better," he added, drawing out a flask of wine, which 
he presented to me. I drank boldly ; but as I took the flask from 
my mouth, I could not suppress a slight distortion of my face. • Ha ! 
it is only home-brewed stufl," said he : a you have lost your German 
taste in Italy I suppose ? " He now drew from Iiis pocket an old 
tattered map of Austria, which he spread out upon the grass, and 
bis companions joined their heads over it, pointing their fingers over 
various routes. " Vacation ends soon," said one. " We must tum 
away from Linz here on the left band, so as to get back to Prague 
in good time." " Kidiculous ! " said the French Horn ; * that road will 
only lead you among woods and ignorant peasants. You will not 
find a man of refined taste on that road." " Fine taste ! Nonsense ! " 
said the Oboe ; " the peasants are good-natured, and will not com- 
plain of our false notes." " You have not the proper pride of an 
artist," said the French Horn ; " Odi profanum vulgus et arceo? 
"There must be many village churches in that way," said the 
Olarionet ; " and the parsons will help us on to Prague." " They 
will give little money," said the Horn, " but plenty of sermons on 
the folly of a wandering life. However, we are in no great hurry. 
Our professors are still, I daresay, at Carlsbad, and will not be 
very punctual on term-day." " Dütinguendum est" said the Oboe, 
"quod licet Jovi non licet bovi." 

* These scraps of Latin, and other remarks, made me understand 
that my new friends were Prague students. I feit melancholy when 
I thought that three young men, who could talk in Latin so fluently, 
should remain so poor. The French Horn seemed to guess my 
thoughts, for he said, u You see we have no rieh friends : so, when 



tho otlier stu clonts return home, wo put thcsc instruments under 
our cloaks, stroll away from Prague, and find the wide world at 
our scrvicc. Ours is the best mode of travelling. I would not be 
a tarne tourist, with my bed warmod and my nightcap laid in a 
certaiu liotel every evening. 'Tis the beauty of our way of life 
that wc go out every morning, like the birds over our heads, not 
knowing under what chimney we shall eat our supper." " Ay ! " 
said the Oboe, " and we have some merry times. For instance, we 
find a kind hearty family at dinner. We are invited into the hall. 
The maidens dance, while we play a waltz. Then we see a good 
omen — the master has ordered the dhiiiig-room door to be opened 
that he may hear us. "We catch the scent of roast meat ; and, better, 
the servants bring füll platcs for us ! " These remarks dispersed 
all my nielancholy. One of the students now put his clarionet 
together, and began to practise a difficult passage in a mass in whiefa 
he had to take a part when he returned to Prague ; but the French 
Horn soon interrupted the solo by strikiug his fist ou the map, and 
exclaiming in his deep bass voice, " Done ! I have it ! Here you 
see, not far from Vienna, is a Castle near the Danube. The porter 
there is my uncle. My dear Condiscipuli ! we will go and pay our 
compliments to him, and I am sure he will help us on our journey." 
At this I started up and exclaimed — " Good ! Does your uncle play 
the bassoon ? and has he a large aristoeratie nose ? " The French 
Horn nodded assent. " Then I know him very well," said I, " and 
I know the countess at the Castle too. I shall be glad to go with 
you." Our plan was soon completed. We resolved to go by the 
next packet down the Danube, and accordingly hastened to the place 
of embarkation. Here stood the stout landlord, filling up the door- 
way of the liotel, while the maidens were looking out of the Windows 
at the passengers and sailors. Among these stood an old gentleman 
wearing a gray frock and a black cravat. I and my friends emptied 
our pockets, and the Steward smiled satirically when he saw that 
all our fares were paid in copper. But I cared nothing for Iiis scorn. 
The morning was brilliant, and I was enraptured to find myself once 
more on the Danube. As w r e steamed rapidly along between pas- 
tures and hüls, the birds were singing, village clocks were chiming, 
and a cagecl canary, belonging to a pretty maiden among the pas- 
sengers, began to whistle charmingly. I guessed the old gentleman 
in the gray frock to be a clergyman, as he was reading in a breviary 
■with a splendidly-gilded and decorated title-page ; and I found that 
my guess was true, for he soon began to talk with the students in 
Latin. Meanwhile, I walked to the bow of the packet, and stood 
there gazing into the blue distance, while towers and spires arose 
one after another over the green banks of the Danube. I took out 
my fiddle, and began to play some old tunes. Suddenly I feit a tap 
on my Shoulder, and turning round, saw the old gentleman. a Ha ! 
Ludi Magister" said he, "do you prefer fiddling? Come and join 
us at lunch." I expressed my thanks, putting up the fiddle, and 
followed my host under a little canopy of birch and fir boughs, 



which the sailors had constructed on tlie deck. Here I found a 
plentiful supply of Sandwiches and some flasks of wine spi-ead out 
before my companions. The old gentleman filled a silver goblet 
with winc, and passed it round. Our reserve soon melted away, 
My companions related their adventures, and the old gentleman 
laughed, and said he also had bcen a Student, and had often wandered 
far during vacations. At his request we took out our instruments 
and played. So the hours passed away, tili the evening sun was 
gilding the woods and the Valleys, while the banks were resounding 
with our strains. As we came near the end of our voyage, we passed 
the silver goblet round once more, and then all joined in the follow- 
ing vacation-song with a hearty Latin chorus : — 

" To the south the birds all fly, 
And we must wander too : 
We wave our caps on high, 

And say, 1 Dear Prague, adieu ! ' 
Three students bold and gay, 
Our instruments we blow : 
' Adieu, adieu ! ' we say, 

' Dear Prague ! for we must go : ' 
Et häbcat bonam pacem * 
Qici sedet post fornacem. 

At night through some small town 

We stroll — the Windows shine : 
Within, the honest people 

Are sitting drinking wine : 
But we are faint and thirsty 

With blowing all the day : 
4 Host ! bring a flask of Rhenish ! 

And with something on a tray : ' 
Venit ex sua domo \ 
Beatus üle horao. 

Now wintry Boreas, blowing, 

Is Stripping all the trees : 
While on the road we wander, 

Our fingers nearly freeze : 
And now our shoes are tattered, 

Yet cheerily we play ; 
And when our hands are frosty, 
We sing (as well we may) — 
Beatus üle homo % 
Qui sedet in sua domo, 
Et sedet post fomacem, 
Et habet bonam pacem."' 

"Wilhelm Hauff (1802-1827) displayed during his short life 
considerable talents of invention and description. He wrote some 
fantastic stories; but his best tales, of which ' Lichtenstein ' (183G) 

* And may he who sits beside the Stove enjoy quietude. 
f He comes out of his house — blessed be the man ! 

i Happy is that man who sits beside the Stove in his own house, aud enjoys. 



is a specimen, contain pleasant skctches of populär manners in Iiis 
native country, Swabia. 

George Maring (1797), who wrote under the name Alexis, 
produced a romance entitled ' Walladmor ' (1823), which professed 
to be a translation frora an original by Sir Walter Scott. The 
trick was so far successful, that many bought and read tlie book, 
believing it to be the production of the Scottish novelist. Häring 
imitated Scott's historical style in several other romances. His 
best work is ' Roland of Berlin' (1840). 

The names of a few ladies who have written fictions may be 
noticed, as feminine genius is a greater rarity in Germany than in 
England : at least it is less frequently displayed in literature. 
Friederike Lohmann wrote many short tales of good tendency, 
and suitable to young readers. The same praise may be given, 
and perhaps in a higher degree, to the domestic narratives of 
Henriette Hanke, which are too numerous to be particularised, 
as they tili eighty-eight small volumes. Many of the stories of this 
authoress were written to explain her views of the important sub- 
ject of female education, with reference to its influence on dornestio 
life. In Germany, the education of ladies has been generally nar- 
row in its ränge. It is not uncommon to find, as the wife of some 
learned professor or author, an amiable and industrious lady, whose 
erudition hardly extends beyond the rudiments of learning and 
the cookery-book. In suggesting remedies for this defect, some 
writers have advanced extreme opinions, have forgotten the 
natural distinctions of Constitution and duty, and have pleaded 
in favour of a style of education which would withdraw woman 
from her proper domestic sphere, and make her the rival rather 
than the companion of man. This error is exposed in the novels 
of Henriette Hanke, and also in the educational writings of 
Caroline Rudolphe Some novels written by the Countess 
Hahn-Hahn are füll of öxpressions of discontent with the social 
position of woman, and develop the tenclencies of the French 
novelist Madame Dudevant (George Sand), while they show 
little of the genius of this writer. Auguste von Paalzow is 
the authoress of ' Godwie Castle, 1 ' St Roche,' and ' Thomas 
Tyrnau,' novels of aristocratic society, marked by descriptions of 
costume and circunistances rather than by good delineations of 

Laube, Kurtz, Brunnow, Gutzkow, Hagen, Koenig, Rell- 
STAB, and Kühne, may be ranked among the best of recent Ger- 
man novelists, whose writings are too numerous to be particulariy 
described here. Few of these writers have devoted their powers 
of Observation to illustrate the realities of life in their native 
oountry. Too many authors, instead of attempting to fill up the 



vacant places which may still bc foimd in literature, regardccl as a 
rniiTor of life, waste tlieir time in cloing again what has been done — 
in describing scenes which have been well described. Conse- 
quently, amid all the fictions of Germany, we can hardly point to 
one which contains a faithful portrait of the real condition of 
society in that country, though several novels give some glimpses 
of reality. The approbation which such fictions have gained, 
proves that works of the same nature, but of greater compass, 
would be well received. The ' Tales' of Jeremiah Gottiielf, 
illustrating populär life, have been admired. Berthold Auer- 
bach, in his ' Village Tales of the Black Forest,' has given 
some pleasing sketches of rural manners, but not without poetical 

Wilhelm Meinhold is known as the author of a singulai* 
fiction, ' Maria Schweidler,' or 1 The Amber Witch.' Having 
carefully studied the processes of trials for supposed witchcraft, 
which were the disgrace of German civilisation in the seventeenth 
Century, Meinhold wrote his story, and published it as a true 
narrative, founded on a document preserved in an old church. 
And such was the accuracy of its descriptions of costume, 
manners, and language, that it was received by many as au- 
thentic history. Though the true origin of the tale is now dis- 
covered, it may still be read with interest, as it gives a faithful 
account of a superstition to which many lmndreds of lives were 

The novels and romances of Beckstein, Schucking, Spindler, 
Heeringen, and Sternberg, rise above the mediocrity of German 
fiction, but do not require particular descriptions. There has 
been some doubt respecting the authorship of a series of remark- 
able novels, portraying natural scenery and human society in 
America, and published as the works of Charles Sealsfield. 
These fictions display a strong imagination in their pictures of 
forests, prairies, ancl other great features of the western hemi- 
sphere, which are interspersed with many reflections on the con- 
dition and prospects of American society. 1 Pictures of Life in 
the Western Hemisphere' (1843), ' North and South' (1843), and 
' Morton' (1844), may be mentioned as specimens of these novels, 
which in some points resemble the writings of the American 
novelist Fenimore Cooper. 

In this fertile department of prose-fiction numerous short 
stories and simple narratives for juvenile readers have been left 
unnoticed. But, as a favourable specimen of many short and 
populär tales, the following, by Johann Peter Hebel (1760- 
1826), may be quoted : — 




' A man may bo led to a wholesome truth by a mistake. Of this 
we find an instance in the case of a poor German journeyman who 
was led to some good reflections by mistaking the meaning of Ifaree 
Dutch words. Our friend was wandering about in Amsterdam, 
amusing himself by gazing on fine houses, crowds of busy men, and 
vessels in the harbour. At last he was especially attracted by the 
appearance of a large and noble house. He admired its six 
chimneys, its cornice, and the tall Windows, in which tulips and 
gillyflowers displayed their beauties. He had not seen such a 
house in all his travels. " Will you be so kind as to teil me the 
name of the gentleman who lives in this fine house ?" said our friend 
to a passer-by. " Kannitverstan " — (" I can't understand you ") — was 
the hasty reply of the stranger, -who knew no more of High-German 
than our friend knew of Dutch. " Ah ! " said the journeyman, " I 
■will remember his name ; for no doubt this 1 Kannitverstan ' is one 
of the wealthiest men in Amsterdam." Reflecting on the wide 
difference betwecn Iiis own lot and that of the great millionaire, our 
friend walked on until he arrived at the harbour, which w T as crowded 
with shipping. Here his attention was soon fixed upon one large 
vessel, lately arrived from the East Indies, and füll of sugar, cofFee, 
rice, and spices. There scemed to be no end to the wealth which she 
contained. Our friend asked one of the porters, who had a cask of 
sugar in his hands, " What may be the name of the merchant who 
owns this cargo?" The porter quickly replied, " Kannitverstan ;" 
and now our fricnd's wonder about the fine house was lost in his 
admiration of the vessel and its rieh cargo. " Ah ! " said he, " this 
merchant, Kannitverstan, may well live in a large house if he has 
such a trade ! But what an unecpial world is this ? He seems to 
possess everything, while I have nothing !" With such meditations 
he left the harbour, and returned into the town. As he turned a 
corner, he met a long funeral procession. Four black horses drew 
the dark-plumed hearse along slowly. A solcmn array of relatives, 
and friends followed. The great bell of Amsterdam was tolling 
heavily. Our friend, who was in a serious mood, followed the pro- 
cession towards the church, and asked one of the attendants (who 
was just at this moment silently calculating how much he should gain 
by the improved price of raw cotton), " Can you teil me the name 
of the deceased ? " " Kannitverstan ! " was the hasty reply of the 
stranger, and tears rose suddenly in the eyes of our honest German. 
" Ah ! " said he to himself, " here is a history ! Poor Kannitverstan ! 
what remains for thee now of all thy wealth but a shroud ? To die, 
and to leave for ever that beautiful house, that splendid vessel, that 
rieh cargo ! I see that death makes all men equal." 

* He entered the churehyard, saw the coffin of the great " Kannit- 

* This title iscomposed of thrce Dutch -words, M hich mean, ' I cannot understaei 
What you say.' 



verstan" sinking into the earth, and was more cdified by the Dutch 
funeral-homily, of whicli he did not understand a word, than he had 
been by many well-understood sormons. He then returned to Iiis 
lodgings, where he ate Iiis bread, with a slice of Limburg cheesc, in 
contcntment ; and afterwards, when he was tempted to complain of 
worldly inequalities, he reraembered the gveat merchant of Amster- 
dam— Iiis fine house, Iiis splendid vessel, and his narrow grave. 
Thus a mistake of three Dutch words led our friend to some whole- 
somc rcflections.' 

Among recent writers of fiction, Adalbert Stifter claims 
notice, on account of the promise contained in his volumes of short 
sketches and stories entitled ' Studies' (1847), which, though im- 
perfect when regarded as works of art, are written in a genial, 
poetic vein, and give some vivid descriptions of the romantic 
woodland scenery found on the confines of Austria and Bohemia. 


The Volksbücher, or Populär Legends of Germany, are so nu- 
merous, and so characteristic of the country, that they must be no- 
ticed here. The rural population of this wide land has long enjoyed 
a literature distinct from that current among the educated classes. 
While learned professors in universities have expounded a series 
of metaphysical Systems, the peasantry have remained profoimdly 
ignorant of the so-called 'progress of icleas,' and have solaced 
themselves with the old legends which pleased their grandfathers. 
Consequently the Germans have an extensive series of Volksbücher 
(People's Books), to which we have no counterpart in England. 
The populär miscellany, 1 Chambers's Edinburgh Journal,' has served, 
among other good purposes, to extinguish a low and mischievous 
class of pamphlets, or ' Chapmen's Books,' which were once 
largely circulated, especially m the north of England; but these 
miserable productions could not be fairly compared with the 
populär legends of Germany, which, though they are generally 
fantastic in their narratives, have some good moral purport. They 
may be divided into two classes : the first containing legends of local 
interest, generally associated with the names of old Castles or other 
antiquities ; while the second contains purely fabulous stories. These 
legends and fables are exceedingly simple and populär, yet often 
poetical in their style ; and their incidents are generally marvellous, 
paying no respect to the laws of probability. The brothers Jacob 
and Wilhelm Grimm have collected and published a consider- 
able series of these old traditions. Another collection is edited 
by Karl Simrock. The ' Selection of Populär Books ' (1843), by 
Gustavus Schwab, contains some of the best stories. Even the 



titles of these books show how far they are remote from tlie lite- 
rature of cultivated society. ' The Curious and Wonderful His- 
tory of Till Eulenspiegel ' is a collection of rustic jests, which Las 
been a favourite among the pcople for some centuries. The legend 
of ' Siegfried with the Horny Skin ' may be traced back beyond 
the epoch of the 1 Nibelungen-Lied ; ' while the tale of Dr Faustus, 
the necromancer, has enjoyed such long life and popularity, that 
the following anecdote respecting it may be easily believed : — In 
a village library of legendary fictions, the copy of ' Faustus ' had 
been worn out by frcquent perusals, and some innovator suggested 
that, as all the villagers had read through this wonderful story 
many times, some new book might now supply its place. But this 
proposition was indignantly rejected by a large majority of rustic 
readers, who voted for ' another copy of Dr Faustus.' The fol- 
lowing may serve as one specimen of a great number of populär 
legends : — 


* Among all the heroes who followed the Duke of Burgundy, there 
was not one likc Eckart in good faith and courage. He had served 
under Burgundy in many battles, and once, when the duke was 
almost overcome by his foes, Eckart suddenly appeared on the field, 
with his son and followers, when the duke's enemies were soon 
routed. After the battle, Eckart lifted the dead body of his son 
from the ground, and carried it before the duke, who shed tears, and 
Said, * You have paid a dear price for my deliverance, Eckart." After 
this event, true Eckart became themost noted man in Burgundy, and 
people who wished to gain favours, applied to him rather tlian to the 
duke himself. For some time this state of things had no bad effect ; 
but gradually enemies arose against Eckart, and spoke evil of him, 
saying that he was making himself master of Burgundy, until at last 
even the duke looked on the hero with envy, and regarded him as a 
rival. Two of the remaining three sons of Eckart were accused of 
treason, and imprisoned in one of Burgundy's Castles. Their father 
in vain demanded to know what they had done, and where they were 
confined. No answer was given ; and Eckart, who had sworn to be 
faithful to the duke, was now very unhappy. He could not deliver 
his dear sons without rising against Burgundy, and this he would not 
do. At last the third son, Conrad, determined, against his father's 
advice, to go to the duke's castle, and to demand that his brothers 
should be made free. He went, but returned no more. The duke 
accused Conrad also of treason, and Eckart's three sons were put to 

* When Eckart heard that his sons were slain, he was so torn with 
grief and rage, that he lost his senses. He left his fortress, and 
wandered into a vast wood, where he roamcd about like a wikl 
beast, and satisfied his hunger with roots and herbs. When some- 
times light broke in upon his mhid, and he remembered the death 



of Iiis cliildren, hc tore Iiis gray hair from his hcad, and cried aloud, 
« My sons ! my sons ! " After he Lad lived thus in the wood some 
time, Iiis countenance became so changed by despair, that even his 
friends would not have known him if they had found him. Mean- 
while the duke was very uneasy when he heard that Eckart had 
escaped, and that no man knew his hiding-place. One morning all 
the duke's followers and huntsmen were summoned to go in many 
parties, and to explorcthe forest and all the neighbouring hüls. Bur- 
gundy, attended by his squire, Wolfram, rode at the head of one 
party. The day was spent in endeavours to find Eckart; but the 
duke would not leave the forest even when the sun was going down, 
for he said that he could not sleep securely in his Castle until the 
traitor Eckart was found and imprisoned. So the followers of Bur- 
gundy remained in the forest late in the evening. But after sunset 
the sky was overclouded, and a black thunder-storm lowered over 
the wood. The wind howled among the trees, the rain feil fast, and 
lightnings glittered among the branches of the oaks. The duke rode 
as fast as he could through the twilight, and lost himself in the heart 
of the forest, while the Squire Wolfram lost all trace of his master. 
And now the exhausted steed which carried Burgundy stumbled over 
a fallen oak, and was lamed. All the huntsmen and followers were 
far beyond the sound of tlieir master's cries. He called loudly for 
help, until his voice failed, and he was faint and despairing, when a 
Strange face suddenly appeared before him. A tall man, with 
long gray hair, made his way through a thicket,and Coming near the 
duke, stood and gazed earnestly upon him. Burgundy prayed the 
stranger to show pity, and to guide him out of the wood ; but the old 
man drew his sword, and raised it over the head of the trembling 
duke. In another moment the sword was put back into its sheath, 
the old man grasped the band of Burgundy, and led him along until 
he feil to the ground exhausted with fatigue and terror. The old 
man lifted his companion and carried him. They had proeeeded 
some distance in this way, when Wolfram the squire found them, and 
gave his assistance. He climbed to the top of a lofty fir-tree (Tan- 
nenbaum), and was glad to discover the light of a cottage twinkling 
not very far off. He then descended, and pointed out the way to the 
skirts of the forest, while the old man, still carrying Burgundy on 
Iiis back, followed, but spoke not. At last they reached the cottage, 
where an old dame reeeived them kindly. The stranger gently placed 
his burthen onthe floor,and Burgundy, recovering from his faintness, 
kneeled and offered sincere thanks to Heaven for his deliverance 
from danger. He then turned to thank his friends ; but the old man 
had concealcd his face in a dark corner. " I am very ill," said Bur- 
gundy, " and feel that I shall not live long after this night of terror. 
I have suffered more on aecount of the sins of which I am guilty than 
from the violence of the storm. Let me do what good I can before 
I die. Wolfram, I give you my two Castles on the Kill, and, in me- 
mory of this night, you shall change your name, and be called Tan- 
ntnhaüser. And now, old man, let me see your face, and reward 



you, for you liave saved mc from perishing in the wood ; though at 
first you drcw your sword upon me — I know not why — but I know 
one who might have slain me justly, for I slew Iiis sons." 

' The old man stepped from the corner, and stood in the liglit, but 
said not a word. The duke gazcd on Iiis sorrowful face, and recog- 
nised Iiis ancient hero. He then feil upon Iiis knees trembling 
before Eckart, and said, " Do I owe my life to the man whom I have 
made childless ?" ft Say no more," said the old man ; "it is enough. 
You know now, and all the world will know, that Eckart was true" 
The night passed away, and the illness of the duke increased. In 
the morning Wolfram summoned attendants, and Burgundy was 
carried to Iiis Castle, holding the hand of Eckart, who walked beside 
him, and sometimes pressing it to Iiis bosom. At last, as they came 
near the Castle, Eckart returned the pressure of the hand, and spoke 
a few kind words, which comforted the dying man. . . . A few mo- 
ments before Burgundy died, he said to Iiis followers, while Eckart 
stood beside the bed, "I leave my house and my children in the 
hands of Eckart, for I know he is true." ' 

These scanty notices of the prolific department of prose-fiction 
will suffice to show that this is one of the weakest parts of Ger- 
man literature. Yet we have selected the best novels and ro- 
mances as the objects of our remarks, and have left almost un- 
noticed a multitude of inferior fictions which belong to the ' Pariah 
caste 1 in the world of books. Some readers may think that such 
books are altogether beneath the notice of philosophical criticism, 
or that a valuation of prose-fictions must be referred to the taste of 
circulating libraries, where the book most worn must be esteemed 
as the best. But a department of literature still having so many 
readers must have some hnportance. To avoid the evils arising 
from false and imwholesome fictions, some well-meaning persons 
would suppress entirely all imaginative tales, novels, and romances, 
good, bad, and indifferent ; but the efibrts of such reformers ap- 
pear to be altogether hopeless, and indeed unreasonable ; for 
poetry and prose-fiction arise from natural and permanent im- 
pulses of the mind, and have always held the most prominent 
place in populär literature. If respectable authors do not supply 
good excitements of imagination, inferior writers will certainly 
take the vacant place. 

To determhie the legitimacy and importance of any class of 
literature, we know no better way than to regard it as a part of 
that general reflection of human life which should be found in 
literature. Thus it is an essential characteristic of our minds to 
remember past events, and to induce from them general conclu- 
sions ; and in this simple fact we find the basis of all historical 
writings. Again, the Observation of present phenomena, either in 



external nature, or in contemporaneous human life, is another 
essential characteristic of the mincl ; and from this must arise 
works containing notices of facts in all the departmcnts of science, 
books on geography, and descriptions of voyages and travels. But 
the memory would be only a confused collection of miscellaneous 
facts without the aid of reason, which arranges facts, distinguishes 
or unitcs them in various classes, and induces general laws, so as 
to give unity and order to all our knowledge. This reasoning 
process is represented in the literature of pliilosophy. Some 
partial minds have treated with contempt all philosophical or 
metaphysical literature ; but it would be easy to show that it 
arises necessarily from the impulses manifested even in the mind 
of a child. Every true part of literature is the representative of 
some essential power of the mind, or some true interest of human 

In this point of view, we think it will be easy to assign to prose- 
fiction its proper province, which borders on that occupied by 
history. History, in its broad and comprehensive outlines, must 
necessarily leave unnoticed many particulars, many of the finer 
lights and shades of human life, descriptions of internal motives, 
private characters, and scenes in domestic life ; and to supply 
these traits in the picture of humanity, appears to be the distinct 
duty of fiction, which, while free with regard to names, dates, the 
exact order of events, and the grouping of characters, should still 
be essentially true. From this point of view we may look on the 
imaginative literature of any country or people, and form a fair 
estimate of its value. With regard to Germany, as we have seen, 
a great part of its imaginative writings consists of merely fantastic 
tales, weak, sentimental fictions, and poor imitations of historical 
romances. Of the ' populär legends,' though their adventures are 
fanciful, we would speak with respect, as they are genuine, and 
fairly represent the play of populär imagination ; while, under all 
their wild imagery, they often convey symbolically a deep and true 
meaning. Our censure applies chiefly to a large class of fictions, 
neither real nor ideal in their features, which describe neither this 
real, present world in which we dwell, nor that better State of 
society to which the mind naturally aspires. Such tales (in Eng- 
land, as well as in Germany), having no basis either in a truly 
poetical imagination or in genial Observation of life, attempt to 
supply the defect of these qualities by a dull and worn-out series 
of melo-dramatic characters. Ilere we find the mysteriously- 
wicked Steward, the hero füll of goodness and pliability, who, 
without a purpose, is impelled hither and thither by the actions of 
others, but always without a deed or even a thought which can be 
called his own, arrives at last at the summit of perfect happiness 




in the shape of a princely estate. Here also is the rival, the 
hero's foil and contrast, füll of wickedness, but employing in his 
schemes sagacity and persevering energy, which are doomed to be 
mado fruitless by a most arbitrary stroke of the novel-writer's 
pen. Here also is the purely-innocent, but most mischievous 
young lady, who cannot take a step, cannot even walk into a 
garden to pluck a rose, without occasioning most tragical or most 
ridiculous adventures. Lastly (though the stock of absurdities is 
by no means exhausted), here we meet (too often) the stränge, 
wandering gentleman, without funcls, who travels everywhere with 
no meaning or purpose, who thinks nothing of leaving London, 
and joumeying over the continent (even without a railway), in 
Order to have the pleasure of abruptly meeting the heroine, and 
saying a few commonplace words to her at Vienna ! Such are 
some of the beauties of third - class fictions : to expose their 
darker features would require more than ridicule. No reader who 
has taken the pains to become acquainted with the lower strata in 
foreign literature will think the above description exaggerated. 
To supply the defects in their native library of fiction, German 
readers have largely imported foreign novels ; but many of these 
are bad Substitutes even for fairy tales and legends of ' Rübezahl,' 
and other goblins. Many articles from the notorious Parisian 
manufactory of fictions, by 1 Alexandre Dumas and Co., 1 have 
been imported. Even inferior English novels, devoted to the ex- 
ploits of highwaymen and housebreakers, are read with pleasure 
in Germany. It is amusing to find in a German review of some 
English novels (füll of ' long-drawn-out ' descriptions and senti- 
mental digressions) a complamt that ' their style is rather verbose ; ' 
or to read, in a critique on some extremely-exaggerated sketches 
of English life and society, a statement that ' they are marked by 
truthfulness.' Among the better writers of novels whose works 
are translated and read in Germany, we may mention Bulwer, Miss 
Edgeworth, Washington Irving, Cooper, and Douglas Jerrold. 
The writings of Charles Dickens have gained in Germany a wide 
popularity, on account of the same original qualities which have 
attracted English readers. We have even found allusions to 
scenes in ' Pickwick ' and 1 Nicholas Nickleby ' strangely em- 
ployed to illustrate points in abstruse philosophical writings. It 
is pleasant to find a classical work truly appreciated. The fol- 
lowing passage in a German review of Oliver Goldsmith's ' Vicar 
of Wakeneid ' accords well with English sentiments. The re- 
viewer says, ' This little work is a model of fiction, füll of mild 
humour, true humanity, and practical wisdom, while at the same 
time it is thoroughly poetical.' 

Though we have stül to treat of History, Biography, Philosophy, 



and Theology, we have already describcd tlie works of populär 
intercst (chiefly found in poetry and prose-fiction) which form 
Übe general literature of a nation. In every age and country tliere 
has bcen a literature of life, united with tlie liabits, afFections, and 
interests of the people, flowing on in aecordance with the progress 
of humanity, and thus distinguished from the literature of the 
study, or from special literature, which consists in a great measure 
of books produced for the use of distinet classes or parties. To 
describe the former kind of literature should be the principal 
task of the historian, excepting when he writes for some special 
purpose. Having given, as far as the limits of this treatise would 
allow, a fair aecount of the poetry and other populär writings in 
which German genius has expressed itself, we may in this place 
give some explanation of the principles on which our comparative 
estimates of various works have been founded. In the preceding 
sections on poetry and prose-fiction, we have especially complained 
of the want of extensive and faithful portraitures of real life ; a 
want which we must observe when we glance over the numberless 
romances, visionary legends, and sentimental effusions found in 
the library of German poetry. According to the views already 
statecl respecting literature in its relation to life, the filling up of 
the outlines given in history should be at least one principal part 
of the employment of poetry and prose-fiction. If we admit this, 
we must esteem the old ' Nibelungen-Lied,' with all its rudeness 
and simplicity (not forgetting its imperfect construetion and 
tedious tautologies), as a work of poetry entitled to hold a place 
above the greater part of modern fiction. 

The graphic narrative of the old ' Nibelungen-Lied ' is read with 
interest, despite its poverty of sentiment ; and great industry is em- 
ployed in collecting and reproducing the old legends of the Minne- 
singers and their times. If some poring book-worm could discover, 
among old-world records, the manuscript of some pilgrim-min- 
strel, telling, particularly and graphically, in language however 
rude, the very lives and manners of the people, from the gay court 
to the mud-built cottage, in all the lands through which he tra- 
velled, how great would be the pleasure not only of antiquaries 
but of general readers ! In some old books of travels or history, 
how we are disappointed when we look for aecounts of life in 
ancient times, and find only records of visits to courts monoton- 
ously gay, or pilgrimages to shrines where the dry bones of saints 
were preserved ! The same curiosity will exist five hundred years 
hence, and readers will then turn away from endless addresses to 
* Laura,' ' liberty,' and the ' moon,' to seek for the poet who will 
teil how the German people were living, and what they were doing, 
in the nineteenth Century. As the poetry of an individual life 



should at least be cqual in interest to the real events of that life, 
so the poetiy of a country should be a worthy companion to its 
hißtory. But German poetry reveals to us but faint traces of that 
land whose ancient people overthrew the Roman Empire — the 
land of the Carlovingians — the theatre where the Middle Ages 
displayed their wonders and terrors, Castles, cathedrals, steel-clad 
barons, hooded monks, and crusaders; where the dreaded Vehm- 
gerieht was founded ; where Jews were persecuted with sword and 
fire, and troops of wild fanatics, such as the Brothers of the Scourge, 
roamed about : the land of Charles V. ; the land of Luther — what 
does German poetry teil of its history? Here, it must be allowed, 
is a great defect, and those who write for the present may learn 
something from the errors of the past. We want a more vivid 
and particularising narrative of life in olden times than the his- 
torian has given us: this want the poet should have supplied. 
Posterity will perhaps feel the same want relative to our own 
times; for where are the classical works which give a faithful 
portraitüre of the life of the people? History speaks of men as 
if they were the creatures of politics; it explores not their true 
nature, it considers man apart from all the influences of nature: 
history is thus füll of half-truths: poetry should supply this 
defect. The true poet should be the Interpreter and the illus- 
trator of life, a companion to the historian, but doing more than 
the historian does. While the historian notices the bodies of 
events, the poet teils of the spirit that moves in them; while 
the historian describes the outward life of man, the poet pene- 
trates into Iiis inner life; the historian records facts, the poet 
reveals feelings, thoughts, hopes, and desires; the historian por- 
trays the actual man, the poet also keeps in view the ideal man; 
the historian teils us of what man has been, the poet reminds us, 
either in Iiis dreams of the past, or in Iiis visions of the future, of 
what man can be; the true poet who fulfils such a duty is as 
necessary to the development and education of mankind as the 

These views of poetry, and of general imaginative literature, 
afford a sufficient explanation of the comparatively low estimates of 
many authors given in the preceding pages of this work. These 
estimates have not been hastily made according to individual taste, 
but have been carefully formed with a regard to the prhiciples 
of criticism just explained. Thus, among the poets, we have given 
the greatest space to the name of Schiller, because (as Iiis 
countrymen generally allow) he is the most national of their poets. 
To justify our neglect of many minor authors of poems, novels, 
and romances, we have only to say that the toleration of common- 
place literature is one of the most mischievous measures for 



authors, for readers, and for society. It is (to use Pope's phrasc) 
1 the art of sinking.' The reader, instead of rising by commimion 
with minds higher than Iiis own, is deteriorated by devoting his 
attention to the productions of writers distinguished only by a 
little superficial cleverness. 


The extensive historical works of Niebuhr, Schlosser, and 
other modern writers, must be esteemed as important features in 
German literature, not only with regard to their prescnt value, 
but also with reference to future studies of history. Wide Heids 
of historical knowledge have been explored, and valuable mate- 
rials have been collected, for the use of future writers ; but genius 
and taste are still required, to impart to the results of sound leam- 
ing a general interest, and to recommend them by popularity of 

The progress of historical knowledge is especially important in 
its relation to philosophy. As all the circumstances of the pre- 
sent age unite to show the necessity of a sober and practical 
philosophy, we may hope that, as our knowledge of the past is 
extended, incluctive science will be as successfully applied to the 
facts of history as to natural phenomena, and that thus many 
imaginative and presumptuous theories will be exploded. 

The political circumstances of Germany have in some respects 
been favourable to the progress of historical studies. Leamed 
professors and industrious students being exciuded in a great 
measure from participation in the political life of their own 
country, have found solace in explormg the history of ancient 
nations, and have given, in the shape of historical essays, opi- 
nions which they could not venture to apply to the institutions of 
Germany. While Prussia and Austria were perilous topics, on 
account of the censorship of the press, liberal and innovating 
doctrines might easily be promulgated under the disguise of 
lectures on the progress and the decline of liberty m ancient 
Greece and Rome. As even abstruse studies may tend to prac- 
tical results, we find in the circumstances just describecl some 
explanation of the present State of Germany. Doctrine and 
practice have been widely separated; and if political theories 
have frequently displayed a visionary character, this may per- 
haps be fairly attributed to the want of that experience which 
can be derived only from practice. 

The study of universal history, to which the philosophical 
views of Herder gave an impulse, has been diligently prosecuted 



during the last fifty years ; yet few classical works have been 
produced in this department. Many liistorical writings marked 
by great researcli, exhibit little of clearness and beauty in their 
arrangement and style. Some historians neglect proportion in the 
construction of their works, and fall into the error which they 
would condemn in an artist who marred the general effect of a 
wide landscape by introducing insignificant details. Learned and 
diligent collectors of historical materials are more numerous in 
Germany than in any other country ; but accomplished historians 
are almost as rare as great poets. The defeets of style found in 
many historical works are hindrances to the spread of knowledge. 
If sincere and useful books, explaining the progress of mankind, 
and incnlcating the profound lessons derived from experience, 
are intended to be widely circulated, they must be written in a 
populär style. 

Johann Müller (1752-1809), a native of Switzerland, displayed 
a true historical genius and extensive erudition. His 1 Lectures on 
Universal History,' delivered at Geneva in 1799, and published in 
1810, are written in a style which sometimes looks like an imitation 
of Tacitus. During the French invasion, Müller wrote eloquent 
and patriotic Philippics against France ; but his conduct excited a 
general wonder, when, in 1807, he accepted a ministerial office under 
Napoleon. It is only fair to add that his repentance was speedy 
and bitter, as he soon resigned his place, and passed the short 
remainder of his life in deep dejection. Karl Rotteck (1775- 
1840) wrote a ' Universal History,' in six volumes (1812-1818), 
which was extended to the year 1840 by K. H. Hermes. This 
work is marked by liberal political views ; but opinions and 
criticisms often fill the space required by clear Statements of facts, 
and the rhetorical style of Rotteck must be tedious to many 
readers. The < History of the World,' by K. F. Becker (1842), 
has reached a seventh edition, and may be commended as one of 
the best books of its kind. K. W. Böttiger's ' History of the 
World in Biographical Narratives' (1839-1844), maybe mentioned 
as a work of considerable interest. Heinrich Dittmar's work 
on the same vast subject has an especial reference to the progress 
of Christianity ; while another compendium by Karl Vehse, 
which was published in 1842, describes chiefly the process of 
civilisation and intellectual culture. 

Among works on general ancient history, Friedrich Schlos- 
ser's ' History of the Ancient World and its Culture' (1826- 
1834) must hold a prominent position. This learned historian has 
corrected the arbitrary style of confining history to descriptions of 
military and political movements, and has paid great attention to 
the literature and humane culture of ancient times. Schlosser, 



who was born in 1776, may be ranked among the best modern 
historians. Iiis works are the results of laborious and conscien- 
tious researches, to which he has devoted his life. It is said that 
lie had read three thonsand books before he was fifteen years 
old. Arnold Heeren (1760-1842) opened a new view of. an- 
cient history in his learned work on the 1 Commercial Relations 
of Antiquity' (1793-1805). While other historians have been 
attracted by the sword of the conqueror, Heeren followed the 
merchant's caravan laden with com, wine, oil, silks, and spices. 
His work is a valuable contribution to the true history of huma- 
nity. Karl Eitter, who was born in 1779, has nnited the 
studies of geography and history in his work on ' Geography 
Viewed in its Relations to Nature and History' (1817). Tins 
great work may be regarded as the result of a life devoted to 
industrious research. 

Turning to the histories of particular nations, three works on 
Grecian history may be mentioned here. Wilhelm Schorn's 
* History of Greece' (1833) extends from the iEtolian and Achaian 
Treaty to the Fall of Corinth ; Karl Lachmann's work (1839) 
describes the events between the close of the Pelopponesian War 
and the era of Alexander the Great ; and Johann Droysen has 
written the life of Alexander in a good style. 

In Roman history, Barthold Niebuhr, who was born at 
Copenhagen in 1776, Stands alone as the founder of a new school 
of research, by which the fictions which were mingied with the 
early history of Rome, and copied from book to book, and from 
one Century to another, have been finally exploded. This fact 
afiords a remarkable instance of the work which may be done by 
a life devoted to study with one prevailing purpose. Through 
the labours of this historian, modern readers know the ancient 
Romans far better than they were known by nations who stood 
in close contact with them. Niebuhr made great preparations 
for his work, and took good care not to dissipate his powers by 
appearing too soon as an author. Düring his youth he visited 
London and Edinburgh. In the latter city he was acquainted 
with the Scott family, and mentioned in one of his letters, with an 
expression of pity, * the eklest son, dull in appearance and intel- 
lect.' This 1 dull boy ' was afterwards the celebrated Sir Walter 
Scott. Niebuhr was employed in several political offices durmg 
the remainder of his life, until 1823, when he retired to Bonn, and 
here devoted himself to the task of arranging the copious mate- 
rials of his Roman history. The French Revolution of July 1830 
had such an effect on the mind of Niebuhr, that it hastened his 
death, which took place at Bonn, January 2, 1831. The following 
passage explains the purpose of this great historian : — 




' I have imdertakcn to write thc history of Rome from its earliest 
period to the time when Caesar Augustus was aeknowledged as tiic 
sovereign of the whole Roman world. I must begin at that time 
when settlers from various natious united together and founded a 
new people ; and my goal will not be reached until I arrive at the 
period when this people had subjected millions to its sway, impart- 
ing to them its language and laws ; when Rome was mistress of the 
world from " the lising to thc going down of the sun ;" and when 
thc last of the kingdoms arising out of Alexanders conqucsts had 
bceome a Roman province. In the early period, so firmly established 
were Roman institutions, and so faithfully maintained from age to 
age, that although few trastworthy notiees of heroic individuals have 
been preserved, we still possess materials from which we may induce 
certain general conclusions respecting the social eeonomy of the 
nation : but in the latter period we shall find this once compact 
and powerfui state dissolving into a confused assemblagc of many 
peoples, and hastened toward entire disorganization. The changes 
through which the nation passed from one of these extremes to the 
other were innumerable. Great events and mighty actions of men 
worthy to establish a wide dominion, were preserved in memory 
even during the most ignorant times ; but a veil of poctry was 
thrown over early records, and fiction supplied the want of interest 
found in dry old chronicles. Among no people do we find faithful 
historical writing developed at a later period than among the 
Romans. Yet we are not compelled by this fact to leave their early 
history in hopeless obscurity. Though we cannot explore all its 
particular facts, we may induce, from the records of Rome's early 
days, conclusions as safe and just as those which we have formed 
respecting the state of the Grecian people during their earliest 
epoch. Indeed the internal history of Rome may be more certainly 
explored than the archoeology of Greece ; for few nations have 
resembled Rome in long preservation of their institutions free from 
all foreign influence. Its social Organization was preserved in in- 
dependence, and steadily developed from thc earliest to the latest 
period ; and it feil, not suddenly under the attacks of foreign powers, 
but slowly by an internal decay. So firmly had its laws and customs 
been knit together, and maintained from age to age, that, even with 
regard to the most obscure times, by the Observation of certain facts 
we may safely arrive at a knowledge of others, as we may judge of 
the style of an old building by some fragments of its ruins ; or as, in 
mathematics, we may derive from a few data of proportioii the same 
large results which would be found by an actual measurement of 

1 Livy endeavoured to forget the degeneraey of the age in which 
he lived, and to refresh and elevate the minds of bis contemporarks 
by presentmg to them a vivid picture of those glories of ancient 
days which had been feebly recorded by the old chroniclers. He 



gave to Iiis country a colossal work of genius, far surpassing evcry 
production in Grecian history, and no loss in Roman literature can 

bo compared with that of the books of Livy 

' To think of supplying such a loss — to drcam of competition with 
that great historian, would indecd be presumptuous ; but a different 
purposc will attend my task. To explore, connect, and animate the 
scanty records of times which left no completc history, so as to prc- 
scnt to modern readers a picturc of antiquity as fair and as füll as is 
now possible — this is the design of my labour. The extent of my 
success will depend on a higher power than mine ; but whatever the- 
result may be, I already owe to my researches in this fiekl of history 
some of the liveliest pleasures of my youthful ycars, and I hope to 
find in my future labour something of that cheerful exercisc of mind, 
even in age, which Livy must have enjoyed in the creation of Iiis 
great work.' 

Next to the work of Niebuhr may be mcntioned a ' History 
of the Roman Constitution,' by J. Rubixo (1839), which contains 
ingenious speculations founded upon careful researches. Wil- 
helm Drumann has produced a ' History of Rome in its Transi- 
tion from a Republican to a Monarchical Government ' (1834- 
1844). This work contains the results of very extensive reading, 
and describes especially the political degeneracy of the Romans dur- 
ing the times of Pompey, C«sar, and Cicero. By a careful exami- 
nation of the letters and other writings of Tully, Drumann has 
represented the character of the great orator in a very unfavour- 
able light. It is curious to find a celebrated public man thus, 
after the lapse of some eighteen lmndred years, convicted of 
certain falsehoods on the evidence of Iiis own letters ; and it is 
equally remarkable that Drumann urges Iiis arguments against 
Cicero as zealously as if he had personally suffered by the said 
falsehoods. In many respects this is an interesting work, but its 
style and arrangement cannot be commended, as it is wordy, and 
encumbered with repetitions. Friedrich Kortüm's ' Roman 
History' (1843) is written in a clearer style: while the work of 
P. Kobbe on the same subject is remarkable for the boldness 
with which it attacks some of the positions of Niebuhr. 

No period of history can afford more curious and instructive 
materials than may be found in the Middle Ages ; but here espe- 
cially an historian of the highest genius and literary skill is 
required to exercise a mastery over numerous and complicated 
events, so as to reduce them to an orderly and intelligible form. 
German writers have displayed wide research hi their studies of 
the Middle Ages, but have not produced their results in a classical 
style. Perhaps the ' Manual of the History of the Middle Ages,' 
by Heinrich Leo, deserves the highest praise in this department. 



Leo has also written a ' Histoiy of tlie Italian Cities ' (1829), and 
other historical works. His earlier writings betrayed a tendency 
to extreme scepticism, bot this has been corrected in his later 
productions. The following passage is taken from Leo's work 
on Italy : — 


'Gennany and Italy advanced together, in tlie same course of 
intellectual developnient and freedom, nntil tlie cra of the Defor- 
mation. The great Italian artists, in thcir paintings and sculptures, 
worked as truly for the liberation of the human mind as our German 
scholars in the revival of classical studies. Without such prepara- 
tions, our Eeformation would have been a mere ecclesiastical schism, 
having no great influence on general intellectual progress. But 
after the Reformation, Gennany and Italy were separated in their 
interests ; for, while the latter rcmained devoted to the fine arts, the 
former employed its best minds in philosophy. This Separation was 
unhappy ; for German thought, divided from the poetical and beau- 
tiful, produced only dry metaphysical Systems ; while, on the other 
side, the Italian passion for the fine arts degenerated into a frivolous 
amusement for clillettardi — a mere sensuous luxury, destitute of 
every noble or religious purpose. But the glory of Italy still re- 
mains in its works of art. When we look upon the actual condition 
of the country, we see, in its political feebleness and Submission to 
foreign authority, that nature and circumstances have prevailed 
over the Italians ; but when we turn our attention to the world of 
art, we find the Italians great and victorious. And this praise 
must not be confined to a few great painters. These men of genius 
would not have produced their masterpieces if they had not been 
encouraged by that taste for the beautiful which pervades generally 
the people of Italy. Great works require public interest for their 
consummation. The fine climate and the fruitful soil of the country 
have been favourable to the physical comfort of the people, and 
consequently to the cultivation of the fine arts. It is vain to expect 
that a people worn down by oppressive toil can evince a taste for 
the beautiful. Lcisure is the friend of the Muses. 

' Of the truth of these remarks we may find proofs in Italy in 
almost every peasant's homestead, in the granaries built upon pillars, 
and the other out-buildings with their neat flat roofs, and in the 
little field with its rows of trees, as well as in the dresses of the 
peasant women, which show tasteful arrangements of colour, and 
in the comely fashion in which the harr is worn. A thousand 
signs in common life manifest the love of beauty which pervades 
the people. But who shall describe the splendour of the view over 
Tuscany's metropolis of art and its surrounding gardens? Who 
can paint those beautiful boundaiües, extending from the poiut where 
the pleasant towers of Fiesole are shining, to the blue ridges of the 
hüls of Lucca rising in the golden background of the western sky l 



The whole prospcct bears the marks of the labours of many gcnera- 
tions of mcn endowcd with the love of beauty. And in the ccntre 
of this loveliness, Florence, still more lovely, lies like a beautiful 
flower. Fr am the bold airy tower of the palace, to the wonderful 
Work of Brunelleschi, the cupola of the cathcdral, every street of 
Florence contains beauties of art. And this Florence is only one, 
though the brightest, of many gems in that diadem of beauty with 
which the Italians have crowned their land. It is surrounded by 
other splendours, of which it is worthy to be regarded as the centre. 
Surely we must be blinded with prejudices, and helplessly narrow in 
mind, if we refuse to acknowledge the greatness of the Italians in 
the world of art.' 

Friedeich Kortüm's 'History of the Middle Ages' (1836) 
is distinguished by its notices of the development of civil liberty. 
The work of Friedrich Eehm on the same subject, published 
between 1820 and 1839, must be considered rather as a magazine 
of raw materials than as a fmished production. This eriticism 
may also be applied to Hullmann's ' Cities of the Middle Ages ' 
(1825-1829), though this work opens some new views, and is 
füll of curious information. ' A History of the Crusades,' by 
Friedrich Wilken, which was published between 1808 and 
1832, may be described as one of the great magazines of historical 
facts, which may be advantageously consulted by scholars, while 
it does not deserve a place among well-written books. The 
authors of such vast magazines may be compared with a dis- 
orderly antiquary, who introduces us to a large room which he 
is pleased to call bis ' museum,' where we find the incongruous 
relics of many ages confusedly piled together, and mingled with 
rubbish. This is not a caricature, but a fair Illustration of the 
character of several historical collections, which may excite won- 
der by their display of erudition, while they are almost totally 
destitute of artistic arrangement. 

The historical writings of Leopold Eanke, born in 1795, con- 
nect the events of the Middle Ages with modern times, and espe- 
cially give valuable notices of political interests in the period of 
the Keformation. 1 The History of the Papacy in the Sixteentli 
and Seventeenth Centuries ' (1834) is generally esteemed as an ex- 
cellent work ; but Roman Catholic critics have raised objections 
against some of its Statements. Friedrich Raumer, born in 
1781, is an accomplished historian, and writes in an interesting 
style. His ' History of Europe from the Close of the Fifteenth 
Century' is marked by the conciliatory style in which it describes 
the contentions of various religious and political parties. A work 
on the ' Courts and Cabinets of Europe in the Eighteenth Century,' 
by Friedrich Förster, contains many curious particulars. 



Waciismuth, Spittler, Heeren, Schlosser, and Gagern, may 
l)e mentioned among the best writers on the period extending 
from the Reformation to our times. Spittler's ' History of 
European States' (third edition, 1823) deserves especial notice as a 
concise and useful work. 

A ' History of the German People ' (1825), by Wolfgang 
Menzel, is one of the best and most readable books on the sub- 
ject. It has been correctly said that ' Menzel writes like an 
EngUshman.' His plam and manly style may certainly supply a 
useful model to some of Iiis learned contemporaries. The follow- 
ing unfavourable estimate of Roman institutions is extracted 
from Menzers ' Spirit of History,' published in 1835 : — 


' The greatness of the Roman people consisted almost solely in 
their martial carcer. There are some nations — for instance, the 
Hindoos — which are known rather by their religion, science, and 
poetry, than by their actions ; but among- the Romans wc find little 
that can bc called great and original, excepting their military ex- 
ploits. They borrowed their edueation and their literature from the 
Greeks ; and if they cultivated religion, science, and the fine arts, it 
was not with a pure devotion, but cliiefly with reference to the glory 
of the state. Tins was the great object of all Roman ambition — to 
extend the glory of the Republic. For this many heroes sacrificed 
their lives in battle. But when we ask, " in what did the glory of 
the nation consist ?" we find that the professed means of adding to 
national greatness were in reality regarded as the great end and 
object of the nation. As heroes died to defend the Republic, so the 
Republic lived only to produce heroes ! In short, therefore, military 
glory was the grand idol of Roman worship. Heroes fought — in 
order to fight again ! In this respect we may say that the history 
of Rome resembles the progress of universal humanity ; for all men 
are born to take their parts in an unceasing warfare with nature 
and circumstances, and every victory opens a new field of strife. 
But Kome loved Avarfare in itself, without regard to any higher 
object than the glory of the Republic, which, indeed, was only 
another name for warfare. The whole nation stood forth, in the 
inidst of the world, like a gladiator, living only to fight ; or, like the 
modern Napoleon, throwing down a universal challenge. For what 
purpose ? What noble, moral motive can we find united with this 
love of contest and victory ? It is true that some material civilisa- 
tion of several countries followed Roman conquests ; but " victory," 
" glory," was the great object ; not the cultivation of humanity ; not 
the permanent extensioii of peace. Rome was a great egotist — a 
robber — a tyrant on a vast Scale ! She attempted to overrule the 
divinc plan of a gradual progress in the world by an arbitrary 
scheme of conquest ; but she feil under her own pridc and presump- 
tion. While longing for external greatness, she ncglected to guard 



against internal corruption. •In this corruption sho would have in- 
volvcd all the known world ; but nature now aroso against degene- 
rate civilisation, and Rome was not even permitted to fall with glory 
and dignity; but was wasted away, partly by an internal decüne, 
and partly under the attacks of barbarian tribes from Gerraany.' 

A £ History of the German People,' by Friedrich Kohlrausch, 
has passed througli several editions, and may be describcd as 
suitable to young readers. Historical works on particular states 
and epochs in Germany are so nmnerous, that only a few of the 
principal books in this department ean be mentioned here : — 
Johann von Archenholtz (1745-1812), a military man, who 
was engaged in the ' Seven Years' "War,' wrote a history of this 
period, which was published in 1788. Though descriptions of 
battles are not the best gems of literature, the following passage, 
describing one of the exploits of Frederick the Great, may be 
given here : — ■ 


' In August 1760, the Austrians had determined to attack the 
Prussian camp at Liegnitz, where it was unfavourably situated 
in several respects. The plan was formidable; for General Dann 
and his compeer, Laudon, had resolved to fall upon Frederick's 
army at four points, as soon as the morning of the 15th of August 
dawned. Thus they intended to intereept the passage over the 
Oder, and to prevent a retreat to Glogau. And so confident were 
the Austrians of success in their scheine, that they said they " had a 
sack ready for Frederick and all his army, and would soon tie its 
mouth." By a fortunate accident the king was made acquainted 
with the design of the enemy. As he sat at table Avith his officers 
on the evening of the 14th, he said jocosely — -" The Austrians are 
clever enough ; but I shali make a hole in the sack which they will 
not easily mend." He at once resolved to move from his encamp- 
ment during the night. Accordingly, as soon as the twilight had 
gathered, he gave command that all his army should quietly move 
on to the heights near Liegnitz. But peasants were left in the 
deserted camp, to keep the watch-fires burning, and patrols of hus- 
sars were engaged to give the usual sentry-calls during the night. 
A similar feint was employed in the Austrian camp to disguise the 
intention of attack. According to the Austrian custom, their 
drummers were employed to beat their signals during the night ; so 
that these two armies were using against each other the same 
method of deeeption. Meanwhile, the king had quietly removed his 
forces to the heights of PufFendorf, near Liegnitz, while Laudon was 
marching his troops towards the same Station, not expecting to find it 
occupied by an enemy. It was a beautiful summer night : there 
was not a cloud in the starry sky, and no wind was breathing. Deep 
6ilence pervaded the Prussian camp j but all eyes were open, and, 



as the soldicrs werc forbidden to sing,«they amused themselves by 
muttering over old tales. In the midst of this apparent tranquillity, 
all were ready, at any momcnt, for a sanguinary engagement. The 
hang, surrounded by his officers, sat upon a drum, and gazed earnestly 
over the scene of eneampment. So the night passed away, and 
morning dawned. Meanwhile Laudon, with 30,000 men, was niaking 
his way towards the heights of Puffendorf, intending to attack the 
left wing of the Prussian army ; but at daybreak he found, to his 
astonishment, that he confronted the whole of Frederick's forces. 
He had relied on the support of General Daun, who was now 
moving on to attack the right wing of the Prussians in their eneamp- 
ment. Laudon, however, would not attempt a retreat, but boldly 
made an attack, relying on the bravery of his troops and the good 
fortune which had hitherto attended him. He also hoped that the 
noise of the artillery would soon call Daun to the unexpected 
battle-ficld ; but a violent wind, which arose soon after daybreak, 
prevented the fulfilment of this hope. He first led on his cavalry to 
attack that of the Prussians ; but was soon driven back into a morass, 
from which his men with difficulty extricated themselves. The 
Prussian infantry now entered into the engagement, and, after a 
severe contest, drove back Laudon's troops. Again the Austrians 
endeavoured to find a passage through the village of Panten, so as to 
break the centre of their opponents ; but the village was soon wrapt 
in liames by howitzers and grenades, and thus the contest was still 
confined to the left wing. Meanwhile General Daun had arrived at 
the forsaken eneampment, and, to Iiis surprise, had found no enemy 
there. After a fatal loss of time, he came to the scene of action, and 
attempted an attack with great disadvantage, on aecount of the 
nature of the locality. Laudon, who had fearlessly exposed himself 
to the heat of the battle, and had done all that could be done in such 
imtoward circumstances, was now compelled to retreat, leaving be- 
hind him 10,000 men, of whom 4000 were wounded, or slain, and 
6000 were taken as prisoners. The dead and wounded of the 
Prussian army were numbered at 1S00. 

' It was a beautiful morning, and the sun, which threw his rays over 
the bloody field, covered with the wounded and the dying, gave light 
to one pleasing scene. The regiment of Bernburg, which had lost 
its caste by its conduet at Dresden, had entered into this battle with 
a determination either to win back its honour, or to die in the 
attempt ; and this resolution had excited both officers and men to 
deeds of valour which had becn noticed by the king. As he rode in 
front of this regiment after the action, the officers stood in silence, 
hoping that some sign of a restoration of the king's favour would be 
given, while four old soldiers ventured to seize the bridle of his 
horse, and intreated that the king would look once more favourably 
upon them. "Yes!" said Frederick, " you shall have all your 
honours again — and the past shall be forgotten." .... This battle of 
Liegnitz lasted only two hours. While all the luxurious classes of 
Society were asleep throughout Europe, and while labourers were 



going to their scenes of toil, the Prussians gained this remarkable 
victory, which preventcd the union of the Russian with the Austrian 
forces, and frnstrated all the designs of the latter upon Silesia.' 

Schiller, the poet, wrote a ' History of the Thirty Years' 
War' (1792). Another work on the same epoch, by Friedrich 
Barthold, shows research, and is written in a lively style. 
Ludwig Posselt (1763-1804) wrote a ' History of the German 
People ' (1789), but this anthor was a warm politician, rather than 
an impartial historian. Karl von Woltmann (1770-1817) 
gained a considerable reputation by his historical works, which 
extend to fourteen volumes (1817-1827), and contain a 'History 
of France,' a ' History of Great Britain,' and a ' History of Bohe- 
mia.' Joseph von Hormayr (1781) has written 1 The Austrian 
Plutarch' (1807-1820), a ' History of Vienna' (1823), and other 
works, chiefly relating to the south of Germany and the Tyrol. 
A 'History of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty' (1824), by Friedrich 
Räumer, deserves praise for its interesting narrative of the events 
of a romantic period. Some of its accounts amply confirm the 
commonplace Observation, that 'truth is stranger than fiction.' 
The following passage, taken from Raumer's work, presents to us 
one of the terrible events which marked the era of the Crusades : — 


4 Immedi ately after their pilgrimage to the Mount of Olives, the 
Christian army began to make further preparations to besiege the 
Holy City. The Duke of Lorraine, Robert of Flanders, and Robert, 
Duke of Normandy, had observed that that part of the city which 
confronted their encampment was not only defended by higher walls, 
but had also a stronger military array than would be found in other 
parts. Accordingly, these captains removed their troops, and took 
to pieces their preparations for the siege, which were quietly carried 
away during the night, and reconstrueted opposite another part of 
the city, where the walls were lower, and the ground was more even. 
A four-cornered tower, overlooking the Valley of Jehoshaphat, stood 
now on the left hand of the invaders, while on the other side they 
beheld Stephen's Gate. At the break of day, the Mohammedans, 
who were guarding the part which had been at first threatened, were 
astonished to find that the duke's encampment had disappeared, and 
hoped that he had retreated ; but they soon discovered that he was 
actively preparing to storm a weaker part of their fortifications. At 
the same time, the Earl of Toulouse had employed his followers in 
filling up a cavity which lay betwecn the city wall and the wooden 
tower which he had erected, so that the engine could now be re- 
moved nearer to the city. The towers built by the Duke of Lor- 
raine and Earl Raymund were of a similar construetion, four-sided, 
protected from fire-balls and other missiles by a covering of hides, 



and having in tlic front a second covering made of strong timber, 
which could be let down so as to form a bridge between the tower 
and the wall of the city. 

* And now the storming began. At first the invaders discharged 
nrrows, and linrled large stones against the wall ; but the force of 
thcse missiles was broken on the bags of straw and chaff and the 
basket-work which the besieged had employed to protect themselves. 
The pilgrims, who boldly approachcd the walls, were repulsed by 
showers of heavy stones and pieces of timber. Burning arrows 
ignited their engines. Vessels filled with flaming oil and sulphnr 
were hnrled into the towers, and after strenuous effbrts during some 
liours, the fire was only partially subdued. Thus passed the day 
without producing any serious advantage on one side or the other ; 
but in the evening, the superstitious minds of the pilgrims were 
animatcd by a certain so-called "good omen:" — The Holy Gross 
lipon the tower of Godofroy of Bouillon had escaped unhurt by all 
the fiery missiles of the Saracens. This was unanimously regarded 
as a sufficient proof of the approbation of Heaven, and a sure sign 
of victory. Now night interrupted the contest ; but on both sides 
the liours were passed in wakefulness, as fresh attacks were ex- 

* When the morning opencd, the siege was renewcd with increased 
determination by the Christians, while the Saracens defended them- 
selves like desperate men, who expect, if defeated, to find no mercy. 
One of the formidable engines employed by the besieged was a large 
beam of timber filled with nails and hooks, and wrapped in straw 
and other combustibles, saturated with pitch, oil, and wax : when this 
was lighted, it was thrown into the tower of the Duke of Lorraine, 
which was soon covered with flames. At first the invaders had en- 
deavoured to hurl the ignited timber from the tower ; but their efforts 
were vain, as the Saracens held it in its place with a strong chain. 
Water and vinegar were poured into the tower, and after some time 
the conflagration was subdued. Thus some seven liours were em- 
ployed ; and now the pilgrims, fatigued and discouraged, were glad 
to make a temporary retreat. The Duke of Normandy and the Earl 
of Flanders, despairing of a speedy favourablc issue, advised their 
companies to rest until the following day, white the Duke of Lorraine 
with difficulty held bis followers together. But in this moment of 
depression, an appeal to the fanaticism of the pilgrims suddenly 
aroused their courage again. A knight was seen upon the Mount 
of Olives holding up bis glittering shicld, and pointing to the Holy 
•City. " See !" exclaimed the duke ; " behold the celestial sign ! On- 
ward, and fulfil the purpose of Heaven!" At this summons the 
invaders rushed forward once more toward the walls ; even the 
women seized weapons, and shared in the danger of the siege. The 
engines of the Franks sueeeeded in hurling large masses of stone 
over the walls. The Saracens, astounded by the fury of the attack, 
now sought for the supernatural aid of magic. Two prophetesses, 
or feniale professors of magic, were led out to perform their charms, 



and to cast their execrations over the Christian army. But a vasfc 
mass of stone, hurled by an engine, feil upon and crushed these 
female magicians and several young maidens who attended thein. 
This was regarded by the pilgrims as another encouraging sign from 
heaven. Their efforts were redonbled, and in the space of an hour 
the outer wall was broken, the intervallum was levelled, and the 
duke's tower was moved toward the inner wall. Now the bags of 
straw and all the basket-work which had protected the walls were 
ignited : the flames spread rapidly ; a strong north wind arose, and 
drove the smoke over the city, and the Saracens, half-stifled, were 
compelled to retreat from the walls. At this crisis the invaders 
dropped the timber-bridge attached to the duke's tower upon the 
wall, and instantly two crusaders, Ludolf and Engelbert, brothers 
from Flanders, stepped upon it. Duke Godofroy and his brother 
Eustathius, with many knights and inferior pilgrims, immediately 
followed : the Gate of Stephen was at the same moment burst open, 
and with loud cries — " God wills it ! God helps us ! " — the invaders 
rushed into the streets of Jerusalem. 

' Meanwhile, on the other side of the city the Earl of Toulouse was 
gaining no advantage, and his tower was so much injured that his 
followers abandoned it. But the Türks, who had bravely defended 
this part of the city, heard that the duke's followers had succeeded, 
and now proposed to surrender to Earl Raymund the tower of David, 
on the condition that its defenders might be released and allowed 
to escape to Askalon. Raymund acceded to this request, but was 
afterwards severely censured by his fellow-crusaders on account of 
his clemency to infidels. His followers now rushed into the city with 
such violence, that sixteen were crushed to death in the Zion's Gate- 
way. Tancred, with his troop, fought along the streets until they 
carae to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where the Christians of 
Jerusalem were chanting their litany — " Kyrie eleison!" Here a 
guard was appointed, whiie the remaining troops hastened to slay the 
unbelievers. The unhappy Saracens fled from the streets, and en- 
deavoured to defend themselves in their houses. Ten thousand 
sought refuge in the Temple and its in-walled court ; but here the 
Crusaders soon found an entrance, and rushed in, crying, " Slay the 
sacrilegious infidels ! Spare not one ! " A dreadful carnage now 
began, and was continued until the scene became too horrible for de- 
scription. The court of the shrine was overflowed with blood. The 
Crusaders, having seized the spoils of the Temple, now hurried away 
to the Synagogue, where the Jews who had assembled were burned, 
together with their place of ancestral worship. The streets of the 
Holy City were covered with corpses ; dreadful were the cries of the 
wounded and the dying ; but nothing could appease the fury of the 
victorious fanatics, who had been stimulated to slaughter and rapine 
by a promise that " every Christian should be allowed to keep all 
the property which he might seize." After the main body of the 
Saracens had been overcome, the invaders divided themselves into 
several bands, and went forth to plunder various parts of the city. 




No dwelling-house was spared : gray-headed men, women, domcstic 
scrvants, and children, were not merely slain, but barbarously torturcd, 
and hewn in pieces. Some were compelled to leap from towers ; 
others were thrown from windows ; children were torn from the 
bosoms of their mothers, and dashed against the walls. Some vic- 
tims were burned by slow fires ; the bodies of others were cut open, 
because it was snspected that they had swallowed pieces of gold. Of 
40,000 Saracens (or, as Oriental historians write, 70,000), there were 
not left enough to bury the dead. The meaner classes of pilgrims, 
therefore, assisted in, the work of bnrial ; while many piles of bodies 
were burned, partly to prevent the infection of the air, and partly 
because there was a hope of finding gold in their ashes. 

4 And now the work was done ; and the host of pilgrims, fatigued 
with massacre and pillage, washed themselves, and marched in a long 
procession, with bare heads and feet, and chanting hymns of triumph, 
to the Church of the Resurrection. Here they were received by the 
clergy with great solemnity, and the highest homage was paid to 
Peter the Hermit, the instigator of the Crusades. The pilgrims 
wept in the extra vagance of their joy, touched or kissed all the holy 
relics, confessed their sins, and received plenary indulgence. Such 
was the height of their fanaticism, that many declared that they had 
seen the spectres of the Crusaders who had fallen in previous battles 
engaged in the recent siege, and performing prodigies of valour. 
Among others, the deceased bishop, Ademar of Puy, had appeared ; 
and when questioned by a pilgrim, had replied — " Not only I, but all 
the deceased Crusaders, have arisen from the grave to take a part in 
this glorious victory." That the favour of Heaven was now gained, 
that everlasting happiness was insured to all who had been engaged 
in the massacre of the Saracens, was the firm conviction of all the 

' Thus, aft^r a siege of thirty-nine days, Jerusalem was taken by 
the Crusaders on the 15th of July a.d. 1099.' 

Another work on the same period, by Friedrich Löher, supplies 
some important additions to the narrative of Räumer. A ' His- 
tory of Friedrich IV. and his son Maximilian,' by Joseph Chmel, 
is a good production. Hagen's 'Spirit of the Reformation' 
(1841-1844), and the writings of Oechsle, Bensen, and Zimmer- 
mann, on the 'Peasants' War,' supply useful additions to the 
materials collected by Leopold Ranke. ' The History of Austria ' 
(1834-1842), by Johann von Mailath, is characterised by Aus- 
trian and Roman Catholic tendencies in politics and religion. For 
accounts of modern Prussia, we must again refer to the writings of 
Friedrich Schlosser, especially to his ' History of the Eigh- 
teenth and Nineteenth Centuries.' As a specimen of the fairness 
and caution of this historian, we may quote his summary of the 
character of that singular and despotic monarch, Frederick Wil- 
liam I. of Prussia : — 




' The satire of some writers of the French school has presented 
to us such a picture of the dark side of Fredcrick's character, that 
it is now difficult to lay aside prejudice, and regard the conduct of 
this stcrn despot in connection with the circumstances of his times. 
Voltaire said everything that could be required to make the 
Prussian king an object of ridicule ; Polnitz added some traits to 
the caricature ; and the Princess of Bayreuth, in accordance with 
the taste of her friend Voltaire, wrote a frivolous satire on the cha- 
racter of her own father ! Yet we may affirm that an unprejudiced 
mind, after reading this satire, will rather commend the rude but 
honest barbarism of the father, than the false and flippant character 
of the daughter. The extreme parsimony of the king was indeed 
ridiculous ; but we must recall to mind his times, when extravagance 
was the fashion in so many courts, and remember that Fredcrick's 
penurious habits enabled him to leave his son in a respectable 
Position. And the king's conduct gave a wholesome example to 
his subjects. He acquired his wealth, not by speculation and bank- 
ing, but by managing a scanty income with rigid economy ; and thus 
he taught his people that, as they were poor, and could not enjoy 
the commercial advantages of the English or the Dutch, their only 
way to prosperity must be in making the best possible use of small 
means, and despising costly luxuries. Consequently not a word 
was whispered in Berlin of fashionable dissipations ; not a dollar 
would the king allow to be expended in bacchanalian feasts, or on 
foreign singers, dancers, and fiddlers, for whom he entertained a 
hearty contempt. This was good ; but, on the other side, we are 
ready to admit that Frederick's economy was low in its purpose. 
Learning and all the fine arts were classed with the " dancers and 
fiddlers," and not a word was said in favour of any study which 

rose above the common necessities of life Yet we may apo- 

logise even for this contempt of literature and science, when we 
remember that in Frederick's time pedantic learning had entirely 
separated itself from all the interests of human life. If the king 
looked on the Performances of literati in his day, he found no results 
save books made out of books and filled with pedantry. Frederick's 
common sense saw the frivolity of such learning, and he said — " I 
want to hear nothing of these men who can make verses in some 
thirty languages, or who can count all the books in all the sciences. 
Give me men who think for themselves, and study for some good 
purpose." .... The king had no more knowledge of philosophy or 
poetry than his rudest subjects ; he could not even spell German 
words ; but he could see the necessity of paying attention to the 
practical sciences at a time when German scholars generally ad- 

hered to the pedantry of the Middle Ages "VVe find the in- 

excusable part of Frederick's conduct in his intermeddling with 
the administration of justice. The property and the lives of bis 
subjects were absolutely under the control of this stern and igno- 



rant despot. He observed tmly that many of thc fornis of law were 
absurdly complicated, and that when thcrc was a dispute betweeu 
two peasants about an acre of Prussian ground, it was vexatious to 
refer back to Justinian, and so kcep the diente in suspense for a 
year. But when he took thc law into Iiis own hands, his subjccts 
learned, to their sorrow, that cven tedious litigation was more toler- 
able than despotism. He soon solved the most knotty cmestions. 
No ruler ever exercised a more absolute authority even among 
Türks or barbarians. He first made the laws, and then administered 
them in a rapid ex tempore style, without regard to tradition, custom, 
or any authority beyond his own despotic will. The punishments 
which he inflicted, even on small delinquents, were often terribly 
severe ; and he would stand by the poor criminal,and see him suffer, 
or would even condescend to execute with his own band the sentences 
which he had invented and pronounced ! The king's walking-stick 
was a terror to the women and children of Berlin ; for he would 
bcat severely the subjects who had offended him if he met them 
in the street. Poor women, and boys, and girls, trembled when they 
saw the king approaching, for he would catechise them severely 
i'especting their clothing or their household management ; and if 
any of their answers displeased him, the walking-stick was imme- 
diately applied to their Shoulders. And it was seldom advisable 
to run away ; for he would send his servants to pursue the unlucky 
fugitive, who only gained an additional beating by his attempted 
escape. It is only fair to add that the king maintained in his own 
family the same rigid discipline which he enforced upon his subjects. 
. . . He even prescribed fashions in drcss, and commanded his sub- 
jects to wear their hair in the " cue style/' To indulge a malicious 
joke, he took the French ambassador and his Company (who had 
their hair dressed in the "bag fashion ") to a review of the Prussian 
army, where they observed with surprise and vexation that all the 
provosts (or army executioners) were satirically decorated, ä-la- 
mode, with large Parisian hair bags ! ' 

It seems natural to turn from the above Singular sketch of a 
despot, to the department of Turkish or Moslem History. The 
works of the learned Orientalist, Joseph von Hammer-Purg- 
STALL, born in 1774 (one of the few celebrated writers produced 
by Austria), are valuable, as they give the results of extensive 
reading of Oriental manuscripts. The ' History of the Caliphs,' 
and a ' Life of Mohammed,' by G. Weil, may also be mentioned 
with commendation as works of original research. 

Some historical works distinguished by particular purposes may 
be noticed here. Wilhelm Wachsmuth has written a ' History 
of European Morals and Manners' (in 5 volumes — 1831-1839). The 
scheine of tliis work is comprehensive ; but the author has filled a 
great part of it with notices of literature and jurisprudence, instead 
of giving details on the important topics so strangely neglected by 



general historians — the actual lives, morals, and manners of the 
masses of the people. Another work of comprehensive design is 
a ' History of Civilisation and Ciüture ? (1843-1845), by Gustavus 
Klemm. It is not easy to guess to how many volumes such a 
work might be extended ; for the first four volumes are confined 
to descriptions of early stages of civilisation among pastoral and 
nomadic tribes. Briareus would have been the most suitable 
writer for a work on this scale. A ' Histoiy of European Civi- 
lisation 1 (1833), by Johann Schönas a work of moderate outlines 
well Med up. A ' History of Trade and Agriculture ' (1842-1845), 
by Gustav Gulich, is a good and important production ; while a 
more concise book on the same subject, by Wilhelm Hoffmann, 
may be commended to general readers. Wilhelm Soldan has 
written a curious book on a gloomy feature in history, a ' Narrative 
of Trials and Executions of supposed Witches ' (1843). The num- 
ber of these executions in Germany, not only before the Refor- 
mation, but also for many years after that event, must excite the 
surprise of a modern reader. 


Books are numerous in this department, many of them being 
devoted to particular epochs in Church History. The writings of 
Thiele and Hase may be described as concise and populär ma- 
nuals of this branch of study. A ' Manual of Universal Church 
History,' by H. E. F. Guerike, extends to three volumes (5th 
edition, 1843), and maintains strictly Lutheran views. The com- 
prehensive work of Augustus Neander (born in 1789) is in ten 
volumes (2d edition, 1844). Its style is diffuse; but it is distin- 
guished by liberal views, and describes especially the internal or 
moral condition of Christianity under various changes of ecclesias- 
tical government. Neander, whose parents were Jews, has ac- 
quired fame among theologians by his researches respecting the 
primitive church, and also by several of his minor works — 
• Julian ' (1812), 1 The System of Revelation ' (1818), and ' Antig- 
nosticus ' (1826). A < History of the Christian Church ' (1841- 
1844), by A. Gfrörer, is an extensive werk, and displays wide 
research, especially with regard to the political relations of the 
church in various epochs. The writings of Marheineke, Hagen- 
bach, Neudecker, and Schenkel, may be advantageously con- 
sulted on the 'History of the Reformation: 1 and a work entitled 
' Reformers before the Reformation 1 (1841), by Karl Ullmann, 
proves very clearly that the tendencies of LutherVs times may be 
traced back to earlier periods; but though it amply fulfils its 
promise, it does not exhaust the subject to which it is devoted. 




In tliis pleasant and useful department modern German litera- 
ture is comparatively poor. Many books bave been produced, but 
few combine literary excellence with naiTative interest. Goethe's 
autobiography, entitled ' Poetry and Truth' (1811), contains inte- 
resting notices of Iiis early liie, mingled with observations and 
criticisms on literature. The following passage may serve as a 
specimen of Goethe's humorous style : — 


' At this time the narae of a new poet, Klopstock, was celebrated. 
At first, we wondered how any man of genius could have such a 
name ; but, after a little consideration, we agreed that the two queer 
syllables might pass as the name of a great poet. My father, how- 
ever, had a more serious objection against the new writer ; for he 
had heard that the " Messiah " was written in long lines called hexa- 
meters, and without any rhyme ! This appeared monstrous ; for all 
our Standard poets, Canitz, Hagedorn, Geliert, and others, had used 
rhyme, without which my father maintained that no true poem 
could exist. He Avas therefore impatient when he heard his neigh- 
bours praising the blank verses of Klopstock, and deterniined never 
to buy such an innovation as the " Messiah." But Alderman 
Schneider, a friend of our family, and a man of business, who read 
very few books, had been smitten with the prevailing admiration of 
Klopstock's work. Its pious sentiments and flow of language had 
made such an impression on the heart of our friend, that he had 
made it a principle to read through the first ten cantos once in every 
year during the week before Easter. And such was his enthusiasm, 
that he even attempted to bring over my father to the side of Klop- 
stock; but all his effbrts were vain; and after some rather angry 
arguments, he prudently resolved to leave in silence the name of his 
favourite author rather than alienate an old friend, and lose a good 
supper every Sunday evening. So my father was allowed to rcst in 
his prejudice against the rhymeless poet. 

' But every man desires to make proselytes ; and as Schneider 
could do nothing with the head of the family, he insidiously made 
converts of the mother and the children. As he never opened his 
favourite book excepting during one week in the year, he placed ifc 
in the custody of my mother, who preserved it as a secret treasure. 
Whenever I could safely do it, I took the book into some sly corner, 
where my sister and myself could enjoy its contents. We soon com- 
mitted to meinory some of its most striking and pathetic dialogues. 
" Porcia's Dream " was one of our favourite passages. Another was 
the impassioned dialogue between " Satan and Adramelech," in which 
I took the first part, because it contained the greater amount of 
energy, while my sister's part was exceedingly pathetic. We were 
delighted with the violent reproaches and retorts which wo thus 



learned to liurl against each othcr ; and whenevcr we liad an oppor- 
tunity, we interchanged such compliments as " monster ! " and 
"traitor !" in the style of Adramelech. But at last our dramatic en- 
thusiasm carricd us beyond the bounds of prudence. One Saturday 
evening my father sat down to be sliaved by candlelight, tliat he 
might appear, as he usually did, with a clean chin at church on 
Sunday morning. The barber was applying the soap, while my 
sister and myself sat near the stove, amusing onrselves by mut- 
tering over our favourite dialogue. We arrived at the crisis where 
Adramelech attacks Iiis Opponent. My sister recited, in a low tone, 
but with strong feeling — 

" Help me ! I pray — I kneel — if you require it, 
Monster ! oeforo tlice — dark, oflfending traitor ! " 

So far, we had performed with success ; but as the passage rose to 
its climax, my sister yielded too far to her tragic excitement, and 
suddenly declaimed aloud, in a tone of wild despair — 

"Oh, how am I crushed down ! " 

u What can be the matter ! " exclaimed the terrified barber, 
dropping Iiis lather-box on my father's waistcoat. u What can be the 
matter ! " echoed my father, starting up from Iiis chair. My sister's 
thrilling pathos had been too effective, and a domestic scene now 
took place, which became very affecting when my father suggested 
what might have happened if the barber had been using Iiis razor 
just at the climax of Adramelech. I and my sister made a füll con- 
fession, and laid all the blame upon Klopstock. Of course my father 
was confirmed in Iiis opinion that no good could come out of hexa- 
meters, and our new poet was laid under an additional ban.' 

Heinrich Döring has written biographies of Klopstock, Voss, 
Richter, Herder, and other literary men. The ' Life of Schiller ' 
(1840), by Gustavus Schwab, is an interesting book. Caroline 
Pichler's ' Autobiography ' contains some curious notices of the 
manners of her times ; and the same remark may be applied to the 
¥ Memoire ' of another lady — Johanna Schopenhauer. Rahel, 
the wife of Varnhagen, wrote ' Recollections of her Life,' but in a 
meditative rather than a biographical style. The 'Autobiography' 
of Heinrich Zschokke, the Philanthropie author, contains many 
interesting passages. Among other memoire of literary men may 
be mentioned a ' Life of Leibnitz ' (1842), by G. E. Guhrauer ; 
the ' Life of the Philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte,' by his son ; 
1 Jean Paul Richter's Memoire and Correspondence ' (1826-1833) ; 
and the 1 Autobiography ' of Heinrich Steffens, the novelist. 

Several works contain contributions to ecclesiastical history in 
the form of biography. Neander has written ' Memoire of St 
Bemard and his Times ; ' and Mayerhoff's ' Life and Times of 
Johann Reuchlin ' is another work of the same character. The 



'Life of Luther,' by Gustav Pfizer, may also be mentioned 

Varnhagen von Ense, bom in 1785, is one of the best modern 
biographers, and has written the ' Life of General Winterfeldt T 
(1836); the 'Life of Field-Marshal Schwerin' (1841); and other 
memoirs of military heroes. 


Though it is impossible, in the limits of this work, to give a 
füll and fair account of the philosophical Systems which have 
prevailed in Germany from the tinie of Leibnitz to the present 
day, we may briefly indicate their leading characteristics. Some 
account has been given of the writings of Immanuel Kant and 
Friedrich Jacobi; but without regard to their metaphysical 
doctrines, which must be noticed here, as they are necessary to 
introduce the views of later writers. 

Kant began his theories with the scepticism of David Hume ; 
but did not rest in the doubts of the Scottish philosopher. Like 
Hume, he begins by denying the possibility of a real knowledge 
of the externa! world. He admits that we receive all the materials 
of our knowledge through the senses, and that from these ma- 
terials we induce general laws in accordance with the nature of 
the human understanding ; but the question remains — Are these 
laws, or conclusions (which result from the Constitution of our 
mind), in accordance with external truth or reality? Kant asserts 
that no proof can be given in reply to this question. A modern 
writer (Chalybaeus) has aptly illustrated Kant's doctrine by 
comparmg the mind to ' a kaleidoscope.' ' The world,' he says, 
' supplies the objects we behold (like the fragments of glass in 
the toy), but the faculties of the mind are the slides of the instru- 
ment by which those fragments are arranged in various designs.' 
Kant, therefore, endeavoured to close many controversies by re- 
ducing philosophy to a ' criticism of reason.' One of his argu- 
ments will indicate the nature of his System. Respecting a belief 
in a supreme moral Governor of the world, and the immortality 
of the soul, he argues that we have no absolute demonstration 
on such topics, but that such a belief is necessary to the harmony 
and satisfaction of the mind, and must, therefore, be admitted. 

Jacobi was displeased with the scepticism of Hume and Kant, 
and endeavoured to escape from it by a simple appeal to con- 
science, or innate sentiments. In fact he used the method by 
which Dr Samuel Johnson once closed a debate on the freedom 
of the will: — 'We feel that we are free, and that is enough.' As 
the talent of Jacobi consisted rather in declamation than in logical 



argument, his writings contain several inconsistencies. Thus, 
after making an appeal to sentiment as tlie criterion of truth, he, 
in another part of his works, exposes tlie danger of such a plan 
in the following words : — 

'A man cannot reform himsclf if he makes himself a Standard. 
He is too much the sport of passions, and nothing remains firm but 
the moral law which is placed over him. It is dangerous to rely 
upon a man who trusts in " a good heart," and will not submit to the 
sway of fixed laws. With the best faculties, such a man may easily 

be lcd into evil The law which Supports virtue must be de- 

finite and uncompromising. As I have narrowly escaped, during 
my life's voyage, from shipwreck on a hidden rock, I know not how 
to'warn others earnestly enough. This rock (self-confidence) lifts 
not itself above the waters. We may easily glide upon it while 
we are dreaming of security. And we shall not avoid it by watch- 
ing the uncertain compass of our moral sentiments, but by steering 
our course by laws not made by ourselves. I am preaching to 
myself as well as to others ; for tliough now in my fif'ty-fifth year, 
I cannot boast that I love the right so as to find it always easy to 
obey it. Yet I love it sincerely, and would strive to attain readi- 
ness of obedience as my greatest good and happiness.' 

Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) rose from humble 
life, and, after a course of study at Jena, was employed for some 
time as a private tutor. At Königsberg he became acquainted 
with Kant, and published anonymously a philosophical work, 
which was received with admiration as one of Kant's productions. 
Fichte carried Kant's doctrine to its extreme point in his subse- 
quent writings. His 'Destination of Man' (1806), and a work 
entitled 'Directions towards a Happy Life,' may be mentioned 
as expositions of his moral doctrines. His character was generally 
and highly esteemed. 

Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling, who was bom in 1775, has 
devoted a long life to abstruse speculation. After a course of phi- 
losophical studies at Tubingen, he was engaged as a tutor, and 
wrote, in 1797, a work entitled 4 Ideas for a Philosophy of Nature.' 
He studied, in close connection, metaphysical Systems and several 
of the physical sciences. The result of these studies was his 
System which was styled ' The Philosophy of Identity,' in which 
he argues that the same laws prevail throughout the material 
and the intellectual world. This System of philosophy was ap- 
plied by the author to many departments of science. In 1808 
he produced an ' Essay on the Relation of the Fine Arts to Nature,' 
and in 1809 an ' Essay on Freedom.' His later writings contain 
theories in which the doctrines of Christianity are imited with 
philosophical speculations. The System of Schelling is too ex- 



tensive to be described liere, evcn in outlines. We may observe 
that Coleridge adopted many of the views and expressions of this 
philosopher, and some of Iiis ideas may be found in the contem- 
plative poems of Wordsworth. It is generally admitted that his 
works display multifarions knowledge, and many observations 
marked by depth and acuteness; but several of his opponents 
have argued that there is no consistent logical style maintained 
throughout his theories. The leading principle of Schelling is 
found in a supposed ' intuition,' which he describes as 1 superior 
to all reasoning,' and ' admitting neither doubt nor explanation.' 

George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) was an as- 
sociate in the early philosophical System of Schelling. His nume- 
rous writings are exceedingly abstruse, and it may with great 
probability be conjectured that very few persons in England 
have read even one of the eighteen volumes in which they are 
contained. He studied at Tubingen, and was afterwards engaged 
•as a private tutor in Switzerland and at Jena. In the latter place 
he was noticed by Goethe and Schiller as a man of extraordinary 
powers of thought. This opinion was confirmed by his writings 
— 1 The Phenomenology of Mind' (1807), an original but very 
.abstruse work ; 1 Logic' (1812); an ' Encyclopaedia of the Philoso- 
phical Sciences' (1817) ; and the ' Philosophy of Law ' (1821). In 
these and other works the author attempted to reduce all the 
departments of knowledge to one science, founded on a method 
which is expounded in his work on Logic. The writings of 
Hegel, including reports of his lectures, were collected by his 
friends and pupils, and published in eighteen volumes (1832-1842). 
The ' Lectures on iEsthetics' (or, on Beauty and the Fine Arts) 
are more generally intelligible than the other productions of this 
author. The notes appended to his 1 Outlines of the Philosophy 
of Law and Government' contain some original and important re- 
marks on the interests of society. The theories of Schelling and 
Hegel have already produced an extensive library of philosophical 
controversy, which cannot be explained here. While thefollowers 
of these writers have attributed to their labours the highest im- 
portance and value, many other German writers refuse to admit 
that the Identity-System of Schelling, or the Absolute Logic of 
Hegel, have in reality made any additions to true science. The 
conclusion of this controversy must be left for a future time. 
Already we may observe that the indirect influence of German 
schools of philosophy has affected the tone of literature in France, 
England, America, Denmark, and Sweden. We may here refer 
the reader to three recent publications which give compara- 
tively clear and readable aecounts of modern speculations. A 
work by Heinrich Chalybaeus, entitled an ' Historical De- 



velopment of Speculative Philosophy,' gives thc outlines of 
various Systems in an impartial style. The 1 History of Philo- 
sophy,' by H. C. Sigwart, lias an extensive plan, as it traces 
the progress of specnlation from the schools of Athens to the 
Systems of modern days. The work of Karl Biedermann on 
German Philosophy from Kant to the present time (1843), regards 
Systems and theories chiefly in their social and political relations. 

German philosophy, from the time of Leibnitz to the present 
day, has been marked by its 1 Idealism.' The writings of Locke, 
Condillac, and others, led to the conclusion, ' there is nothing in 
the understanding which has not arrived there through the senses.' 
To tliis Leibnitz replied by saying, ' Yes ; there is the understand- 
ing itself.' The whole of Kant's System was simply an exposition 
of all that was implied in the remark of Leibnitz. Kant explained 
the laws of the understanding. But are these laws accordant with 
external truth or reality ? Schelling and Hegel have endeavoured 
to answer this question. The former professes to solve it by an. 
appeal to a ' spontaneous intuition,' which discovers that the human 
mind and external nature are essentially one ; or, in other words, 
that the same intelligence which exists in a conscious State in man, 
lives in an unconscious condition throughout the universe, pervad- 
ing ' all thinking beings, and all objects of all thought.' Hegel 
professes to solve the same question (left open by Kant) hi a more 
scientific style, by a method of thought which he styles ' absolute 
logic ; ' a process of reason which (as he shows) is found not only 
in the human mind, but throughout external nature. The heavens 
and the earth, and all things within their compass, all the events 
of history, the facts of the present, and the developments of the 
future, must be (according to Hegel's doctrine) only so many steps 
in one eternal process of creative thought. The leading principle 
of this process is found in the development of a series of opposi- 
tions which are at once produced and resolved by reason. Truth 
is represented as consisting in the just ' relation ' of objects to each 
other. Unity pervading apparent Opposition, and variety, is the 
mark of truth in all Systems, both natural and intellectual. It is 
seen in the most minute insect, as well as in a vast System of cos- 
mogony ; it appears in grandeur in a well-ordered Commonwealth, 
and in its beauty in a harmonious family. It finds Symbols 
throughout nature, and in all the arts ; it builds up nations, and 
maintains the order of the moral as of the physical world. It is 
the rule of the whole universe, and apparent deviations from this 
rule only serve ultimately to extend its sway. A few examples of 
its application to various subjects will be plainer than abstract 
definition. With regard to history, it is represented as containing 
an eternal or permanent element among aU the changes of finite 



and transient events. It is a progressive emmciation of trutTi 
through a series of imperfect Interpreters. Through all the errors 
of all times the process of truth may be traced. Individuais and 
communities, and even nations, may fall as sacrifices to error ; but 
even this error is a part of the process by which truth reveals 
itself. With regard to government, truth is not confined to any 
one side of any (sincere) Opposition ; for this would make the 
other side purely false, wilful, and irrational. ' False views or 
opinions are defective, one-sided, or erroneous, but must not be 
treated as absolutely false.' Thus, if monarchy be maintained as 
an ' absolutely ' true principle, then there can be no truth in its 
opposite — republicanism. The latter must be, in every age and 
country, utterly groundless and false, which none will affirm. All 
forms of government are so many finite and imperfect attempts to 
embocly the true idea of developing in unity the greatest and best 
faculties of mankind. Any one form of government may contain 
more or less truth or justice, according to circumstances. A true 
rcformation or improvement in society should preserve all that 
was good in the preceding condition. Thoughts, ideas, or prin- 
ciples alone are absolutely true. Men, and parties of men, are 
only imperfect symbols. A majority or democracy in any country 
may rule as oppressively as an oligarchy. The true tendency is 
toward the dominion of just thoughts or principles. The same 
guiding thought prevails throughout the treatment of ethics ; 
morality is catholic, consistent with the whole nature of man, and 
the whole plan of the universe. (This was the doctrine of Leib- 
nitz.)* Vice is partial, inconsistent, and contradictory. If frau- 
dulent parties unite to injure society, here is a unity of several 
parties in one plot ; but it is only a weak, temporary unity ; for it 
is opposed to the general unity and Order of society. The union 
of the bad cannot endure long. It must fail : the plot must be 
discovered and destroyed ; for the general is stronger than any 
particular or private interest. All the ingenuity and activity of 
inen bestowed upon a false or unjust scheme cannot make it per- 
manently successful; for it contains hi itself the contradiction 
which is the cause of its defeat. It is a part refusing to be sub- 
ject to the whole, but ultimately it must be made subservient. True 
freedom is a Willing and rational accordance with the interests of 
the whole ; slavery is an unwilling or compulsory obedience. The 
vulgär notion of freedom implies only a release from constraint ; 
but this is very defective as a definition ; for true liberty is found 
only in the union of the internal with the external laAv. The 
application of this mode of philosophising to theological topics 

* See the extract from an essay by Leibnitz, on page 107. 



cannot be duly noticcd here, as it must lead to abstruse controvcr- 
sial questions ; but thc conclusions regarding practical religion, or 
the duties of the individual, are clear. Vital and operative truth, 
as distinguished from any barren belief in mere facts or dogmas, 
consists in ' the relation ' between the objects of faith and the 
believing mind. In a religious history, as distinguished from one 
of a merely secular or temporary character, there is an eternal 
element which reproduces itself in a variety of forms. Accord- 
ingly, as they preserve more or less of this eternal element (the 
spirit of religion), various forms of religion must be regarded as 
more or less spiritual. The Roman Catholic does not believe that 
any such distinction between the universal substance and the par- 
ticular form can be safely or correctly made ; but maintains that 
religion must depend on one extemal form or order (the Church) ; 
the Protestant affirms that the same substance may exist under 
various changes of form : this is the essential difference between 
the two parties. Hegel and his disciples adhered to the Protes- 
tant side of this question, and argued that the Reformation must 
be progressive, and cannot remain bound by the particular 
opinions of Luther, or any other authority of a temporal kind. 
Yet changes of forms and doctrines must not be sought at the 
risk of injury done to the essential character of a religion. But 
when a common consent on great catholic and indispensable prin- 
ciples is diffused among a people, wide diversities of forms and 
opinions regarding inferior topics may be safely allowed. With 
regard to individual life and duty, the object of life should be, 
not private happiness, but to maintain a true course of activity in 
harmony with the welfare of the whole to which we belong. As 
Fichte says — 1 That practical application of the greatest ideas and 
the noblest motives to the common duties of life in which true 
religion consists, must not be regarded as a distinct work for cer- 
tain particular days, or festivals, nor as a separate calling or pro- 
fession of certain men, but should pervade the whole of life. The 
peasant who, simply with regard to his duty to the Divine Being, 
cultivates only a little garden ; or the lowest workman, inspired 
by a noble motive, while he labours mechanically, rises higher 
than the man who merely believes in high doctrines which he does 
not realise, or who performs great actions without a religious 
motive.' Opposition and difficulty, arising from what is called 
natural evil, are the necessary excitements of our activity, and 
moral satisfaction is the reward of every faithful attempt to over- 
come the Opposition which we must encounter in fulfillmg our duty. 
Without evil, real and active goodness could not be called into 
exercise. Good and evil, therefore, unite to form active virtue. 
In a world without trials, labour, pain, and disappointment, there 



would be no place for the exercise of faith, firmness, patience T 
and magnanimity. In tlie same style, all the oppositions or ap- 
parent contradictions found in the world of thonght, as also in the 
exteraal world, are treated with regard to the essential ivnity from 
which they proceed. Yet they rnust not be confused together, 
but raust be regarded as at once distinct and nnited. These few 
instances may give some notion of the style of Ilegel's logic ; but 
it would be vain to attempt to give in a few pages any aclequate 
account of a System which was expounded in voluminous writings, 
and extends itself over the whiole ränge of the sciences. In con- 
clusion, we may notice Hegel's Statement, that his method cannot 
be opposed to any other mode of philosophy ; ' because it includes 
all other modes.' To explain this assertion by an example — if - 
some moral law or doctrme is to be established, the disciples of 
one school will appeal to the conscience of the individual. The 
Idealist admits the propriety of such an appeal ; for he regards 
the individual conscience in its normal State as being a summary or 
compendium of universal law ; but he also says — ' The individual 
mind may be defective, and therefore such an appeal to its testi- 
mony is not sumcient to establish the law ! ' Again, the disciple 
of another school will distrust the individual conscience, and will 
rather make an appeal to the conclusions induced from history. 
Again, the Idealist admits the validity of the appeal, as he regards 
large bodies of men, &c. 1 the events of history as being pervaded 
by the same reason which is manifested in the individual ! 1 Ac- 
cording to his doctrine, one living mind or soul pervades all 
nature, rules throughout all the events of history, and manifests 
itself in an infinite series of individual forms, displaying its inex- 
haustible riches by producing all the oppositions and varieties of 
qualities found in the universe, and yet ever maintaining its own 
essential unity.* 

* Ifi the abovc passage, which may perhaps he regarded as an attempt to do 
what is almost impossible (to give some brief and intelligible results of a voluminous 
and abstruse philosophy), it must be observed that there is no intention either to 
maintain or to dispute the truth of the principles stated. To form a eorrect estimate 
of the tendencies and ultimate results of this philosophy, it would, in the first place, 
he necessary to determine the question, whether its ' moderate ' or its 'extreme' 
disciples give the true development of its principles. Of the extreme party (who 
may be reprcsented by such a writer as Ludwig Feuerbach) little could be said 
with propriety in a work on general literature ; but we may here indicate the na- 
ture of their doctrines by saying that they are even more revolutionary than the 
doctrines prevalent in France toward the close of the eighteenth Century. With 
regard to its indirect influences, the modern philosophy is certainly one of the most 
important parts of German literature, and seems likely to affect the current of 
opinions throughout the world. As instances of its indirect influence, we may 
notice the following facts : — There is good reason for supposing that all the most 
remarkable and innovating ideas found in the philosophical writings of Coleridge 
were derived from his perusal of the works of Kant, Jacobi, and Schölling. These 
idcas may be found in Schelling's works on the ' Philosophy of Xature,' and the 
' Soul of the World,' which were published in 1797 and 1798. Mary of the remark- 




The theological works which have appeared since 1770 are too 
numerous and important to be arlequately described in a short 
treatise on general literature ; our attention mnst therefore be 
confined to a few writers who represent the tendencies of various 
schools of doctrine. The wide diversities of belief still existing in 
Germany — a cotmtiy which has been the principal sonrce of 
religious controversies for more than two centuries — may be in- 
fen-ed from the following facts : — The Roman Catholic Church 
prevails chiefly in the southern states. Orthodox Protestants are 
distinguished by their adherence to the doctrmes defined in the 
Confession of Augsburg (1530). These doctrines have also been 
essentially maintained by the Pietists, who have formed separate 
communities. The Mystics ceased to exist as a party at the era 
of the Reformation ; but the influence of their writings survived, 
and may still be found in the works of modern authors. The Neo- 
logists, or Rationalists, have rejected the supernatural portions of 
Scriptirre. Other writers, who may be denominated as Idealists, 
regard the same passages as symbolical expressions of certain 
abstract doctrines. Lastly, the German Catholics have separated 
themselves from the Romish Church, and have endeavoured to 
establish a communion on the basis of a few general articles of 

Johann Michael Sailee (1751-1832), bishop of Regensburg, 
and a member of the society of Jesuits; wrote a ' Manual of 
Christian Ethics,' ' Discourses on Religion,' and many other prac- 
tical and devotional works, which contain some liberal views, 
and were condenmed by certain parties in the Romish Church. 
Franz Volkmar Reinhard (1753-1812) appeared in early life as 
an acute sceptic ; but after a great change had taken place in his 
opinions, he became the most celebrated preacher of his time. His 
£ Sermons,' which have been published in thirty-nine volumes 
(1837), display eamestness and unaflected solemnity of style. 

Friedeich Schliermacher (1766-1834) was educated among 
the United Brethren, but left their society in 1787, and studied 
theology in connection with the philosophical System which pre- 
vailed at that time. He became celebrated as a preacher at Berlin 

a"ble and so-called mystical expressions regarding external nature found in Words- 
worth's 1 Excursion ' (1811) and other poems may be found Condensed and given 
more boldly in a short poem which Sehelimg published in the ' Journal of Specula- 
tive Physics ' in 1800. The singular writings of Mr Carlyle are füll of the ten- 
dencies of Fichte's philosophy. All the most remarkable speculations in the eclectic 
System of Victor Cousin, the French philosopher, are confessedly borrowed from 
Schelling and Hegel. The doctrines of the American essayist and lecturcr, Emer- 
»ox, are simply a reproduction of the idcas of Fichte in a new dress. Many other 
instances might be given. 



(1796-1802), and -«rote a series of religious meditations entitled 
1 Monologues.' His 1 Critique on Systems of Morality' appeared 
in 1803 ; and in the following year he began, with the assistance 
of Friedrich Sehlegel, a translation of the works of Plato. About 
the sarae time he wrote his ' Discourses on Religion, addressed to 
Educated Sceptics.' His singular religious views, arising out of 
his endeavour to reconcile the recognised doctrines of Protestants 
with certain philosophical speculations, are contained in his work 
on the 1 Christian Faith ' (1821), which is written in an abstruse 
and complicated style. His practical sermons and some other 
writings display an eamest character and an acute intellect 
seriously injured by devotion to metaphysical abstractions. It 
is rather remarkable that Goethe, who looked on all the philoso- 
phical speculations of his contemporaries with great distrust, fore- 
told that their endeavours to reduce theology to a metaphysical 
System would lead to confusion and controversy. This prediction 
was fiüfilled in the works of Scliliermacher and other writers. 

Wilhelm de Wette, born in 1780, was the friend of Schlier- 
macher, and may be described as one of the most learned and 
able representatives of the rationalistic school. His principal 
work, an 1 Exegetical Manual of the New Testameut ' (1836-1840), 
is a production of great erudition and labour. Besides this, he 
has published a new 'Translation of the Scriptures,' in three 
volumes (1831), and many other works. 

Ludwig Friedrich Theremin, born in 1783, was celebrated 
as a public orator in Berlin. His ' Sermons,' collected in thirty- 
nine volumes (1836), are imaginative and eloquent. He also 
wrote ' Adalbert's Confessions ' (1835), and a work entitled ' Even- 
ing Hours ' (1833). Johann Wilhelm Neander, born in 1789. 
who has been mentioned as the author of an extensive history 
of the Christian Church, has also written several works on distinct 
features in church history. Among these, 'Julian' (1812), 'St 
Bernard ' (1813). and 'St Chrysostom' (1836), may be mentioned. 
Karl Ullmann, born in 1796, attained a prominent place among 
theologians by his writings on the side of the orthodox Protestant 
Confession during a time of controversy. These works, like many 
others of the same period, are so intimately connected with 
polemics, that no interesting description could be given of them 
without trespassing beyond the bounds of this treatise. The 
same remark may be applied to several of the works of Friedrich 
Tholuck, born in 1799, who is celebrated as a leamed exegetical 
writer. His 'Sermons' (1834-1839) and 'Hours of Christian 
Devotion' (1840), are his most populär works. 

Among the most populär commentaries on the Sacred Writings 
may be mentioned the work of Friedrich Lisco, entitled 1 The 



New Testament in Lutlier's Version, with Introductions and Ex- 
planations ; 1 and ' The Explanatory Family Bible, or a Commen- 
tary on the Sacred Writings of the Old and New Testaments,' by 
Heinrich and Wilhelm Richter. These works contain the 
views of orthodox Protestant divines. The same description may 
be applied to ' A Biblical Commentary on the New Testament,' 
in three volumes (1836-1839), by Dr H. Olshäusen, which has 
had a considerable share of popularity. E. W. Hengstenberg 
is the author of several exegetical works, especially ' The Authen- 
ticity of the Pentateuch' (1836-1839), and 'The Christology of 
the Uld Testament,' in three volumes (1829-1843), which display 
extensive learning. 

No modern work has excited so much controversy in Germany 
as the criticism on the four Gospels published under the title, ' The 
Life of Jesus ' (1837), by David Friedrich Strauss. In this 
work the author maintains that, while the essential ideas con- 
tained in the Gospel narrative are true and sacred, the narrative 
itself may be subjected to critical inquüy, like any portion of 
secular history. He therefore proceeds to treat it as Niebuhr 
treated early Roman history. He denies the historical validity of 
all Statements of miraculous events, and regards them as ' mythical' 
representations of the ideas which constitute (as he supposes) 
the substance of Christianity. His opponents (who are numerous) 
maintain that these ideas or truths depend for their proof on the 
authenticity of all the Statements in the Gospel narrative, and 
regard Strauss as having attacked the foundations of the Christian 
faith. To this charge he replies in his ' Polemical Essays ' (1838), 
written to defend the character of the former work, by saying 
that 1 a belief in miracles does not constitute the basis of Chris- 
tian faith;' that moral and spiritual doctrine has been too long 
made to depend upon uneertain traditions. and that it must now be 
maintained in its proper independence. He also asserts that his 
criticism has no tendency to injure the essential part of Christian 
belief. The explanation of his views regarding this ' substantial 
Christianity ' is given in his work entitled ' The Christian Doctrine 
of Faith '— (' Christliche Glaubenslehre '), 1840-1841. The work by 
Neander on this controversy, and Professor Tholuck's ' Credibility 
of the Gospel History ' (1837), may be mentioned as specimens of 
numerous publications directed against the views of Strauss. 
Throughout the whole of this controversy, and many other ques- 
tions of a similar nature, we see that the opponents assume widely- 
different premises. Those who maintain the exclusive authority 
of the history, regard it as the only possible foundation of doc- 
trine, and distrust, or rather condemn, all attempts to distinguish, 
on rational grounds, between the substance of truth and its form. 




On the otlicr side, Strauss and bis associatcs argue that such a 
distinction can be clearly drawn, that a multiplication of tenets 
and doctrines, requiring for their proof long and careful historical 
investigations, has produced unbelief and discord in opinions, and 
that a more simple and liberal exposition of Christianity is now 


Modern German literature has been singularly rieh in this de- 
partment. The circumstances of thoughtful and speculative men 
which have been described as favourable to the study of universal 
history, have also promoted the investigation of ancient and 
modern literature. In the literary republic, students have found 
the liberty which they could not enjoy in actual life. Poets, 
historians, philosophers, and other writers, have been studied and 
criticised not merely as authors, but with especial reference to 
their respective contributions to the progress of ideas and the 
movements of society. For instance, Friedrich Schlegel, in 
his comprehensive course of lectures on the literary produetions 
of many ages, did not write merely as an artistic critic, but also 
as the apologist of certain religious and political principles. It 
must be noticed that a great number of mgenious works of lite- 
rary history and criticism have been written rather for the ne 
of studious scholars than for the public. Many German writers 
appear to despair of communicating their thoughts in a style 
intelligible to the common sense of the people. Hence there still 
remains a great part of that distinction between a populär and 
a scholastic style which we have observed in the Middle Ages, 
when the literati separated their thoughts from all populär intelli- 
gence by writing in Latin. It may be said that in some depart- 
ments of philosophy it is necessaiy to maintain a scholastic style ; 
but on the other side, it may be remarked that the habit of writing 
for the general reading public, though it is attended with its 
peculiar temptations to shallowness and flippancy, is the best 
corrective of all tendencies to pedantry and over-refmement. In 
Germany, learned men write in a great measure for one another, 
and it is a distinguishing mark of cleamess of style in certain 
works when they are said to be written for ' the laity ; ' that is, 
the people. The necessity of such a mark may be explained by 
the fact, that many philo sophical works, though written purely 
in German, are so technical or scholastic in style, that people of 
a good common education, and well acquainted with their mother- 
tongue, cannot understand one sentence. In literary history, also, 
the object of many writers appears to be rather to accumulate 



than to diffuse Information. Consequently, in this department 
we find many learned, but few generally useful books. The 
literature of past ages, which is in itself too diffuse to be com- 
prehended by men of scanty leisure in modern times, is compli- 
cated and cxtended, rather than simplified and compressed into 
a readable form. If the labours of learned historians and critics 
had been directed to popularise, without falsifying the results of 
sound and extensive scholarship, we might have possessed at 
this time a useful series of manuals; and even readers, without 
much thne for study, need not have remamed without a fair general 
acquaintance with universal literature. But while concise and 
masterly summaries are required, many scholars love to wander 
in never-ending disquisitions. The consequence is, that in Ger- 
many, as well as in England, the greater number of readers 
acquire nothing more than a fragmentary and accidental know- 
ledge of books, and often neglect the best, while they read the 
worst. Hence we find such stränge exaggerations and mistakes 
regarding the characteristics of various writers. Some German 
readers, for instance, as we have already noticed, called Jean 
Paul 'a second Shakspeare,' and mistakes of the same kind, 
though seldom so egregious, sometimes occur in English literature. 
As all our judgments must be comparative, it is essential to a 
iah- appreciation of the present that the literature of the past 
should not be forgotten. Without some fair idea of the whole, 
we cannot justly estimate the value of a part. A mere poetaster 
might pass as a true poet with readers who had no knowledge 
of such minds as Homer and Shakspeare. Besides, many books 
contain features of interest, while they are not suitable for general 
reading. There is also an interest in the study of literature as 
a progressive whole, which cannot be found in fragmentary read- 
ing. These remarks, we think, indicate the duties of the literary 
historian, which have been neglected by many able and learned 
German writers. 

The critical writings of Heeder, which have been mentioned in 
their relation to poetry, do not require any further analysis, as 
they were more remarkable for the impulses which they gave to 
the studies of other authors than for their intrinsic merits. 
Goethe and Schiller may be mentioned among the writers of 
criticism, the former, especially, on account of the candour and 
moderation of his opinions, and the elegance of his prose style. 
These qualities are displayed in his ' Discourse in Commemora- 
tion of Wieland' (1813). In all his prose writings, Goethe showed 
that the German language might be written with grace, precision, 
and clearness. There is no apparent effort, no affectation in his 
style. It is genuine, natural, and beautiful. Goethe found great 



delight in studying and describing the characteristies of Shak- 

The series of letters dritten by Schiller on ' the fine arts and 
poetical literature ' are pervaded by a lofty and ideal tone of 
thouglit, partly derived frora the study of Kant's philosophv. 
1 The true poet, or artist,' says Schiller, ' must remember Iiis 
relation to the times in which he lives ; but he must not be the 
creature of Iiis times. His endeavour should be not only to 
please, but to correct and refme the mincls of his contemporaries. 
To do this, he must contemn mere conventional and accidental 
tastes. He must look upward to the laws of truth and ideal 
beauty, and not downward to populär applause.' Schiller was 
confirmed in this mode of thinking by the conversations and 
letters of his friend Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1832), who 
was an aecomplished philologist, and wrote several works on lan- 
guage and literature. His views of poetry were rather philcso- 
pliical than populär. 

The Brothers Schlegel developed that taste for universal lite- 
rature which Herder had introduced. Augustus, the eider (1767- 
1846), first acquired fame by some speeimens of a 1 Translation of 
Dante,' and extended his reputation by a ' Translation of Shak- 
speare.' He was afterwards united with his brother in the pro- 
duetion of a critical journal, ' The Athenseum' (1798), and in writ- 
ing a series of 1 Characteristies and Critiques' (1801). He issued 
a translation of ' Calderon's Dramas ' in 1803, and ' Garlands of 
Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese Poetry,' in 1804. His Lectures 
on Dramatic Art and Literature were given at Vienna in 1808. 
He then devoted his studies with enthusiasm to Oriental, and 
especially ancient Sanscrit literature. 

In all these writings Augustus Schlegel displayed a mind 
endowed rather with comprehensive hitelligence than original 
creative genius. His poems are elegant, but not remarkable. He 
shared in the antipathy against ' rationalism ' and ' logical phi- 
losopliy ' which was expressed by his younger brother, and may 
be regarded as one of the founders of the so-called ' Romantic 
School' of poetry which has been described hi the section on 
prose-fiction. Friedrich Schlegel, the younger brother (1772- 
1829), wrote his work on the ' Poetry of the Greeks and Romans 1 
in 1798. He was even more decided than his brother in Opposi- 
tion to the seeptical character of some philosophical theories in 
his day. His mind had a strong predilection towards all that was 
wonderful and mysterious in literature as hi religion ; and the 
result of his studies was, that he entered the Roman CathoKc 
church at Cologne in 1803, which produced some excitement in 
the literary world. After tlüs conversion, Schlegel made even Iiis 



works on general literature the vchicles of his religious and pole- 
raical opinions. The tone of his politieal philosophy recom- 
mended him to the patronage of Prince Metternich of Anstria. 
His lcctures on the ' Philosophy of History' were evidently 
written with religious and politieal purposes, to which he often 
sacrifices the fair and candid statement of facts. Perhaps the 
only valuable argument in these lectures is that which exposes the 
danger of ' negative ! reformation ; or, in other words, the inex- 
pediency of destroying old institutions before new ideas are pre- 
pared to develop theraselves in consistency with the Order of 
society. The style of these lectures is by no means clear and 
masterly. Friedrich partieipated in the Oriental studies of his 
brother, and wrote a work on the Language and Philosophy of 
the Hindoos (1808). But his lectures on the ' Literature of all 
Nations ' (1811-1812) have chiefly extended his fame, as they show 
great capacity, extensive learning, and critical acumen. The 
great purpose of the author is to describe the development of 
literature, in its connection with the social and religious institu- 
tions of various nations and periods. He thus elevates literature, 
and especially poetry, far above the views of trivial and common- 
place criticism, and regards it in its highest and most important 
aspect, as the produet of human life and genius in various stages 
of cultivation. The history of the world of books is thus repre- 
sented as no dry and pedantic study, but as one intimately con- 
nected with the best interests of humanity. In the establishment 
of this ' humanitarian ' style of literature the Services of Friedrich 
Schlegel were valuable. He endeavoured to show the wide dis- 
tinetion between superior men of true genius and the crowd of 
frivolous writers who have in every period degraded the cha- 
racter of literature. His design was noble, though its execution 
Avas disfigured by prejudices, as the following summary will prove. 

The first and second lectures are devoted to Grecian poetry, 
history, and philosophy ; but the historian, instead of giving a 
clear view of this rieh department of ancient literature, wanders 
into digressions on religious and other topics. He censures the 
Grecian mythology as representeel in Homer's ' Iliad,' on aecount 
of its shallow and sensual character. In the third and fourth 
lectures, the imitative character of Roman poetry is exposed, and 
the oratory and history of the Romans are described as the most 
favourable exhibitions of their intellectual character. The fifth 
lecture gives an aecount of the ancient literature of the Hindoos. 
The seventh describes the poetry of the Germans during the Middle 
Ages. The ninth relates the progress of Italian literature during 
the same time. In the tenth lecture Schlegel ventures to express 
his censures on the character of Luther. He then proeeeds to 



contrast the styles of literature prevailing in Catholic and Protes- 
tant countries after the Reformation, and expresses great adinira- 
tion of Calderon and Camoens. The religious prejudices of the 
writer become clearly manifest in his criticisms on modern litera- 
ture, as we see in the following passage : — 1 England still retained 
more of the influence of the ancient church than other Protestant 
countries, and therefore here we find that poetry again appeared 
similar m its nature to the romantic poetry of the southern Catholic 
countries. Shakspeare, Spenser, and Milton, derived a consider- 
able part of their poetic inspirations from their romantic prede- 
cessors, especially the Italians.' In this style Schlegel attempts to 
prove that trae poetry has flourished chiefly under the influence 
of the Romish Church. He observes two facts, which are quite 
correct ; namely, that the Reformation in Germany was followed by 
a dreary period in poetic literature, while in England poetic genius 
was developed in abundance. But he forgets two explanatory 
facts : first, that in Germany ecclesiastical and social disturbances 
occupied the minds of all classes ; ancl secondly, that in England 
society soon enjoyed a restoration of Order and prosperity under 
Elizabeth. In short, this Histoiy of Literature affords a remark- 
able instance of a work written with a purpose. No objection 
can be raised against it on this ground ; but in the prosecution of 
his purpose, the author employs sometimes unfair or erroneous 
reasonings. This characteristic requires particular Observation; 
for if there is any one fault which especially detracts from the 
value of many learned German works, it is the sacrifice of facts 
to favourite theories. On the other side, when facts appear to 
support an author's theory, he is tempted to exaggerate them : of 
this we find an apposite instance in Schlegel's deduction of the 
French Revolution from the French Philosophy of the eigliteentli 
Century. He appears to have forgotten the previous history of 
the court of Louis XIV., where a German duchess, the mother of 
the regent, clearly predicted that a ' terrible social revolution 
must be the result' of the evils which she witnessed in the 
seventeenth Century. On the whole, it may be said that these 
lectures display great ability and strong prejudices. 

Franz Horn (1781-1837), though far inferior to the Brothers 
Schlegel in compass of knowledge, may be mentioned as the 
writer of several works which directed attention to German 
literary history, and also as a commentator on Shakspeare. 
Wilhelm Solger (1780-1819) was an acute critical writer in 
' iEsthetics,' or the seience of the sublime and beautiful in art 
and literature, for which we have no English name. 1 Erwin; 
on Beauty and Art' (1815), and ' Philosophical Conversations' 
(1817), are the chief productions of this writer. 



While tlie Brothers Schlegel and many other writers followcd 
the tendencies of Herder in universal literature, a national German 
school of research and criticism was founded and supported by the 
Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, with many able associates. 
Jacob, the eider brother, devoted Iiis researches to the German 
literature of the Middle Ages, and collected the scattered rem- 
nants of old populär legends. In conjunction with Iiis brother, 
he published Iiis ' Children's Fahles, or Household Tales ' 
in 1812. These are marked by a style of great simplicity, and 
often convey pleasing sentiments and good morals, mingled gene- 
rally with fantastic and supernatural adventures. Another col- 
lection of ' German Legends' was produced in 1816. Meanwhile 
Jacob Grimm studied industriously the old dialects* and other 
antiquities of his country, especially the old System of laws. The 
results of these researches appeared in a profound and compre- 
hensive ' Grammar of the German Language ' (1818-1831), a work 
on the ' Legal Antiquities of Germany ' (1828), and the 'German 
Mythology' (1835). These works have secured for the author 
the highest position among national philologists and antiquaries. 
Wilhelm followed the same course of studies. These brothers, 
indeed, may be styled intellectual twins, inseparable in their sym- 
pathies as in theh* literary pursuits ; and all the characteristics of 
the eider, Jacob, may be also ascribed to the younger, Wilhelm. 
Their example gave a strong impulse to the study of German 
archaeology, and many writers now entered the field of inquiry. 
The results of theh- studies have been hailed with enthusiasm; 
and it is only natural that exaggerated admiration has been excited 
by the recovery of many relics of old literature. These remains 
are now so abundant as to form a considerable library of literary 

Ludwig Uhländ (1787 — ), who has been mentioned as one of 
the most national and populär of modern poets, is also well known 
as a Student of old literature. He wrote an interesting book on 
the character of Walter von der Vogelweide, the minstrel and 
moralist of the twelfth Century, of whom some account is given in 
the present work. Another writer, allied with Jacob Grimm in 
the national tone of his productions, was Joseph Görres (1776- 
1848). He also resembled Friedrich Schlegel in his zeal for the 
Komish Church, but in every other respect was inferior as an 
author. He possessed neither the calmness nor the clearness of 
style which the historian requires, but wrote generally in a pole- 
mical tone. In his political and religious views he belonged to the 
Ultramontane party. 

Wolfgang Menzel (1798), well known as a critical and pole- 
mical writer of the national school, has written a ' History of Ger- 



man Literature ' (1828), 'The Spirit of History ' (1836), and <Eu- 
rope in the Year 1840.' As thc editor of the ' Literatur- Blatt/ 
he has warmly opposed the extreme revolutionary tendencies of 
recent philosophical and social theories. It may be added that 
Menzel is one of the clearest and best writers of German prose. 
The writings and translations of Hagen, Lachmann, Graff, 
Grasse, and many others, might be mentioned as important contri- 
butions to literature and archajology ; but works in this department 
are peculiarly national in their interest, and too numerous to be 
specified. To mention one work by E. G. Graff will be sufficient 
to show that the philological works of this school are too compre- 
hensive to be fairly described in a short treatise. Graffs ' The- 
saurus of the Old High- German Language ' (1830-1843) extends to 
six quarto volumes, containing all the words of this language, with 
numerous notes on the analogies found in the Gothic, Old High- 
German, Sanscrit, Greek, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Dutch, Danish, 
Swedish, and English languages. It is a valuable work. A ' His- 
tory of the Poetical National Literature of the Germans' (1835- 
1841), by George Gottfried Gervinus, presents a remarkable 
instance of patience and industry. The author must have read 
not merely many volumes, but rather whole libraries of worthless 
books, in order to an*ive at Iiis results. To avoid the appearance 
of dogmatic assertion, he condescends to give details of works 
which he has pronounced to be generally contemptible. This 
minute and laborious style, which displays the sound learning of 
the author, is by no means attractive to the general reader, who 
wishes to arrive at results by a short and easy process. Yet Ger- 
vinus is no pedantic writer. His attention is not confined to the 
world of books, but he studies literature chiefly in its relations to 
the progress of society. His views on this subject are directly 
opposed to the doctrines of Friedrich Schlegel. The following 
short passage may indicate his opinions respecting the duties of 
critics and literary historians : — 


' I cannot hope that my mode of treatment will please all rcaders. 
Many will sayperhaps that myjudgment is too severe, and my praise 
too scanty. Tins disagreement cannot be avoided; but I must 
request that the reader will not censure my judgment in any one 
particular point, until he has considered it in relation to the whole to 
which it belongs, as particular judgments ought to result from exten- 
sive comparison. While some may think that I have reduced the 
works worthy of remembrance in our literature to a scanty number, 
I am convinced that my mode of treatment is essential for the best 
interests of literature. In these modern times, which inherit the 
writings of thousands of years, we ought, I think, to become morc 



and morc fastidious in our choicc of books. As our timc bccomcs 
scanty in proportion to the deinands madc upon it, it bccomes us to 
take care that the hours of study are devoted to the works most 
suitable to improve and refine our minds. Why should we tolerate 
low productions, when there are works of excellence numerous 
enough to occupy the longest and most studious life? Who can teil 
into what degeneracy our literature may fall, if we regard quantity 
rather than quality, and care morc about how mamj books we read, 
than how to secure a knowledge of the best books \ Literature and 
the fine arts require the Services of honest and severe criticism ; 
for, as persons of accomplished and independent taste and judgment 
are few, if these neglect to distinguish between good and bad pro- 
ductions, public taste may become gradually, but entirely, depraved. 
AVith regard to poetry especially, I would fully maintain the assertion 
of Horace — that none but the best poetry should be tolerated. By 
this rule, I would not restrict all poetical writings to the highest 
order, but would demand that every production claiming public 
attention should be truly excellent in its kind.' 

The 'Lectures on German National Literature,' by A. F. C. 
Vilmar (1844), are partly distinguished by a tone of enthusiastic 
admiration, but are written in a pleasing style, and are generally 
fair in the comparative estimates given of various authors. Some 
of Vilinar s sketches, however, remind us of a painter whose taste 
for beauty tempts him now and then to put ideal traits in Iiis 
portraits of real faces. The following passage describes some of 
the characteristics of Goethe : — 


* As one sign of the healthful character of Goethe's genius has 
been noticed in Iiis openness to the manifold impressions of real 
life, so we may observe another, not less important in the instinct 
which led him to avoid all violent and injurious impressions which 
could not assist, but would rather disturb and perplex, the process 
of his mental development. Though he could sympathise in a wide 
variety of interests, he feit and knew well the truth, that every mind 
most have its limits, and that he must not bewilder Iiis attention 
by devoting it to a multiplicity of objects, too numerous or tco vast 
to be comprehended. He held, and often expressed, a strong con- 
viction respecting the proper and necessary bounds of human nature, 
beyond which he would not be led into any vague speculations or 
hopeless endeavours. He called these reasonable limits " the forti- 
fication-lines of the human mind," as he believed that a strict atten- 
tion in keeping within them is necessary to guard us against wasting 
our powers on objects which we can never master. His own prac- 
tice in observing these " boundary-lines," in declining to enter into 
speculations or contentions for which he did not find himself pre- 
pared, has been represented by some writers who did not understand 



it as a specics of pride or self-sufficiency, though it arose from 
entirely opposite principles. Another sign of Iiis liealtliful character 
as a literary man may be found in Iiis deliglit in natural studies. 
He nevcr livcd in a monastic style, confined among books in a 
study ; bnt found materials for thought and poetry in communion 
with nature, conversation with Iiis friends, and observations on 
populär life. He knew how to sbun an extremely sedentary life, 
and over-reflective studies, Avliich tend to produce an unwhoiesome 
tone of thougbt. Thus, when lie found that bis long residence at 
tbe court of Weimar was likely to contract bis views and observa- 
tions, be regarded bis journey to Italy as a necessary recreation. 
His studies of natural science were pursued on tbe same principle. 
In tbese be found a -welcome refresbment and genial occupation 
of mind, when weary witb attention to books and human life. And 
it is well for every literary man, when, after toiling amid the 
contradictions of human society and opinions, he can retire a while, 
and find solace, as Goethe said, in " genial and intimate converse 
witb nature." It is good sometimes, after we have been long occu- 
pied witb the thoughts and words of our fellow-men, to stray among 
the mountains, and enjoy silent discourse even witb rocks and 

As historians and critics of Ancient Classical Literature, German 
scbolars have maintained tbe highest position in modern thnes, 
and their works are too comprehensive to be fairly described 
here, too numerous also to be even mentioned severally. The 
characteristics of many learned works in this department will 
be indicated by a definition of the object for wbich the study of 
ancient literature sliould be pursued. This definition is found 
in the 1 Lectures on the Study of Antiquity ' (1807), by Friedrich 
A. Wolf (1759-1824), one of the greatest philologists of his 
thnes. He says — ' Our object in the study of antiquity should 
be to gain a knowledge of men as they existed in ancient thnes. 
This knowledge must be founded on our study of literary and 
other remains of antiquity ; and from this study we must induce 
general observations on the organic development and importance 
of ancient national culture.' This definition, which is generally 
received by the learned men of Germany, evidently opens a most 
spacious field for inquiry and speculation. The idea of classical 
erudition is extended far beyond its common limitation, and is 
connected with researches respecting not the languages only, but 
also the religion, philosophy, social economy, and arts and sciences 
of ancient nations. George F. Creuzer (1771 — ) is one of many 
scbolars who have adopted the definition of Wolf, and is cele- 
brated as the writer of a remarkable book on the 'Symbolism 
and Mythology of tbe Ancients, especially the Greeks ' (1810). 
In this work the author maintains that the mythology of the 



Greeks was a series of personifications of the powers and Opera- 
tions of nature, as they were understood in ancient tiines. A 
short extract will show the character of this writer's theory : — 


6 All the various forras and Symbols which we find in the mytho- 
logy of the Grecian people, may be reduced to one simple priuciple 
— the deification of material nature. The "living elemonts," as 
the Greeks esteemed them — air, fire, earth, and water, with all their 
various infiuences on mankind, all the most remarkable creatures 
in the animal and vegetable kingdoms — the sun, the moon, planets, 
and some of the fixed stars; for instance, Sirius — these were the 
real objects of adoration among the Greeks, and were celebrated 
in a thousand fables. The public as well as the private religion 
of this people was founded on physical observations, and decorated 
by imagination. The times of light and of darkDess, the seasons 
of the year, the periodic phenomena of the sun and the moon, with 
their eirects, seed-time and harvest, these formed a cycle of religious 
festivals. This religion was physical in its origin, and the objects 
of worship were multiphed to thousands by poetical fantasy.' 

Karl Ottfried Muller (1797-1840) must be mentioned as an 
aecomplished scholar, and the author of an excellent work, a 1 His- 
tory of Grecian Literature to the time of Alexander the Great ' 
(1841). This work was unfortunately left by the author in an 
incomplete State, but contains much Information, conveyed in a 
populär style. Another work by the same writer, a ' Manual of 
Grecian Art and Archseology,' deserves similar commendation. 
Among many works which may be recommended to classical stu- 
dents, we may mention the writings of Friedrich Welcker on 
the 1 Tragedies of vEschylus ; ' the ' Real Encyclopsedia of Clas- 
sical Antiquities,' edited by Pauly, Walz, and Teuffel (1841- 
184G) ; and the 1 Life and Works of Sophocles,' by Adolphus 
Schöll (1842). Other works may be recommended to the gene- 
ral reacler. For instance, ' Hellas and Rome,' by K. F. Borberg 
(1841-1844), is an excellent manual, containing good selections 
from Greek and Roman writers in prose and verse, with suitable 
introduetions and critical notes. The ' Grecian Antiquities,' by 
Wilhelm Wachsmuth (1843-1846), and a ' History of Roman 
Literature,' by J. C. F. Bahr (1845), deserve praise. It may be 
generally remarked, with regard to these and many similar works, 
that while the greatest German scholars have extended their re- 
searches into the widest fields of classical antiquity, their works 
are less pedantic, in the strict sense of the term, than the writings 
of some English scholars, who seem to have studied nothing but 
words. As justice has required us to admit the inferiority of Ger- 



man writers in several departments, it is a pleasure here to acknow- 
ledgethe vast superiorityof such raen as Wolf, Muller, Welcker, 
and Jacobs, over all such verbal pedants as are represented by 
the once-celebrated Joshua Barnes of Cambridge. The object of 
classical erudition, as defined by Wolf, is somcthing infinitely higher 
than 1 turning the contents of a newspaper into Greek hexame- 
ters,' in the style of Barnes and others. It would be ungracious 
not to acknowlcdge — which we do with much pleasure — that not 
only Central Europe, but the world generally, has been prodigiously 
indebted to the erudite and patriotic studies of German scholars. 
Into the obscurities of Greek and Roman literature the Germans 
have made the most laborious researches, and their critical editions 
and recensions of the classics are a marvel of enlightened, and often 
poorly-rewarded industry. The enthusiasm with which this branch 
of learning has been pursued by them, bears a remarkable contrast 
to the generally calculatmg indifFerence of scholarship in Great 
Britain, where it may be said that little time is spent on what does 
not promise handsome pecuniary or professional rewards. The 
pursuit of learning for learning's sake is, in the present State of 
things, found scarcely anywhere out of Germany. The dealing in 
thoughts and words at second-hand, now so common in England, 
and much more so in Scotland, and the verbal and routine studies 
of our schools and universities, are spoken of by Gennans under 
the contemptuous term PJrilwterei, a word not translateable, but 
implying every species of small confined pedantry and mechanical 
learning. Perhaps this is too strong a phrase, and yet where are 
we to find series after series of voluminous editions of the classics, 
based on original examination and criticism, except from the pens 
of the scholars of Germany ? One of the latest of these great men 
was Dr Carl G. Zumpt, of the university of Berlin, who died in 
1849 * 

No German writer has excelled Friedrich Jacobs (1764) in 
conveying in an elegant and pleasing style the information gathered 
by extensive classical learning. His writings show an enthusiastic 
admiration of the literature and fine arts of the Greeks, which he 
has studied in their relations to the social circumstances and natu- 
ral characteristics of this people. He has especially described the 
cheerful influence of the fme arts on public and private life during 
the flourishing days of Athens, and has shown clearly that in these 
times literature did not exist in that State of abstraction from the 
general interests of the people in which we find it during the 
Middle Ages, and even in modern times. The value which F. 
Jacobs ascribes to the influence of Grecian philosophy is perhaps 

* Zumpt's editions of the Roman classics have been reprinted in a form suitable for 
tcliools by the Messrs Chambers of Edinburgh. 



too high, but many of Iiis remarks on the union of literaturc and 
the fine arts with humanising cultivation are acute and valuable. 
The following passage is extracted from Jacob's ' Miscellaneous 
Works,' in five volumes (1823-1834) :— 


'Many essays have been written on the influencc of climate on 
Grecian art and taste, yet few have studied carcfully how this in- 
fiuence was exercised ; how the fine climate of Greece promoted the 
enjoyments of public life and society among the Athenians, and how 
their public mode of life proved favourable to the development 
of the fine arts. The clear sky invited the people to spend a great 
part of their time in the open air. It was their favourite roof. The 
pleasant breezes, the murmuring sea, and the bright sun, were the 
delights of the people. Through a considerable part of the year 
they enjoyed the luxury of living at once in the bosom of natnre 
and in public society. Even during the flourishing time of Athens, 
the people who retaincd old customs regarded the city as a place 
for the transaction of business, a mere prison in which some portions 
of time must be spent, while for enjoyment they looked to the open 
country. But they also determined to make the " prison " as cheer- 
ful and beautiful as possible. Consequently no Grecian city was 
left without open places for public resort, spacious halls, airy 
colonnades, and shadowy groves. In such places the people as- 
sembled for public business, amusement, and conversation. As these 
localities became thus connected with the daily life and the most im- 
portant interests of the Athenians, the fine arts were employed to 
decorate them. The habit of meeting and discussing openly the 
affairs of government nourished the public spirit of the Greeks. The 
private dwellings of the people, even of the higher order,were small, 
and sparingly decorated within. Complaints respecting the private 
luxuries of the rieh in later times are testimonies of the simplicity 
and economy of private life in earlier days. The wealth which was 
never lavished on egotistic pleasures, was willingly bestowed on pub- 
lic decorations, religious festivals, splendid dramatic Performances, 
and immortal works of art. To contribute money for such national 
objects was the glory of every patriotic Grecian ; and thus great 
works were consummated by the united efforts of the people, as a 
great lake is fed by thousands of little streams. Patriotic artists 
often laboured gratuitously for the decoration of their city, contented 
with the enjoyment of their art, the applause of their fellow-citizens, 
and the hope of immortal renown. To use the words of Pliny, a 
great artist was here regarded as a part of the common property of 
the nation. 

( This Athenian mode of life had a twofold good influence on the 
produetions of art. In the first place, the populär taste was purified 
and elevated by constant intercourse with the beauty of surrounding 
nature ; and in the second place, the artist, in working to gratify a 



pure and noble public taste, -was saved from the degradation of 
having to please the false and accidental tastes of merc individuals. 
Consequently, as long as this joyous public life of the Athenians 
flourislicd, tho fine arts retained their excellence, but began to decay 
as soon as Grecian liberty suffered. The Macedonian princes re- 
spected the cities of Greece, as the former abodes of many virtues, 
and accordingly left thera generally in the enjoyment of their own 
modes of government. Yet the defeat at Cheronea proved a fatal 
blow to Greece. The gladness and enthusiasm of public life vanished; 
the free spirit of the Citizens was broken. Few sparks of hope now 
glimmered among the recollections of better days. The private cha- 
racters of the people degenerated. The lower passions of human 
nature had been in a great measure overruled by the enthusiasm 
attending great national ideas, but as these decayed, the baser dis- 
positions gained ground. As public virtue faded, poetry and the 

fine arts also lost their former lustre Mere riches could not 

supply that encouragement to noble produetions which had been 
found in a free national spirit. Wealth alone never produced any 
truly great work. Even as a help, it is only valuable when subordi- 
nate to a noble purpose. The Thessalians were rieh, but what great 
work did they produce? .... Yet, even in the declining days of 
Greece, the works of art, which had been produced by public spirit 
inspiring genius, were still sacrcdly preserved by the people as their 
dearest monuments of former glory. As Cicero teils us, " there was 
no instance of a Grecian city voluntarily resigning its sculptures and 
paintings." When Nicomedes of Bithynia requested the people of 
Gnidos to surrender the statue of Aphrodite, by Praxiteles, and pro- 
mised to take off the burthon of public debt if they would comply, 
the Citizens answered that " they would rather suffer the greatest 
inconveniences than resign their choicest treasure." Again, when 
Demetrius besieged Rhodes, the inhabitants of this place sent a mes- 
sage to their enemy requesting that he would allow them to pre- 
serve the picture of Ialysus, by Protogenes ; and the besieger replied 
that "he would rather burn the portrait of his own father than 
destroy that beautiful work of art. " ' 

Several works on the modern literature of France, Italy, and 
England, have been published recently in Germany ; but these do 
not require particular notices here. A bibliographer and critic 
(Schwab) observes in a work, published in 1847, £ we have no 
complete liistoiy of English literature either in the English or 
the German language.' This skows that the writer was unac- 
quainted with the work on that subject published in ' Cham- 
BERs's Educational Course ' in 1835, or with the subsequent 
and larger work, ' Cyclopsedia of English Literature, 1 prepared 
by K. Chambers. 

Industry and research are displayed in the mvmerous works 
produced in Germany on the Criticism of the Fine Arts. The 



principles found in the writings of Winkclmann, and Lcssing's 
4 Laokoon,' have been developcd by later authors, who have 
written excellent historical and critical works on the progress of 
the plastic arts — architecture, sculpture, and painting. The writ- 
ings of Thiersch, Hirt, and Semper on ancient art, contain 
valuable notices. A 4 History of the Plastic Arts,' by K. 
Schnaase (1843-1844), is distinguished by its comprehensive cha- 
racter and elegant style. This writer studies art, as Wolf and Iiis 
followers studied philology, in connection with the physical, moral, 
and intellectnal characteristics of various nations and epochs. The 
'History of Painting,' by F. Kugler (1837), is an able work, 
which extends its notices over the period from the time of Con- 
stantine the Great to the present Century. A 4 History of the 
Plastic Arts in Christian Nations,' by Gottfried Kinkel (1845), 
is worthy of a place beside the work of Schnaase, on account of 
its information and clear language. With regard to Gothic 
architecture, the writings of Kallenbach, Hofstadt, Möller, 
Bunsen, and especially Sulpiz Boisseree, might be particularly 
described and commended; but our limits will only allow a 
general notice. The same remark will apply to the critical works 
on painting by Passavant, Waagen, Fernbach, Hotho, and 

Music is so far an object of Sensation rather than intelligence, 
that all attempts to reduce it to scientific principles can only suc- 
ceed to a certain extent. Yet, if it is to be ranked with the 
intellectual arts, it must submit to the philosophical analogies and 
laws which prevail in poetry, painting, sculpture, and architecture. 
Some importance, therefore, must be ascribed to the endeavours 
of several writers who have subjected music to philosophical 
criticism. The 4 Elements of a Universal Theory of Music,' by 
Friedrich Krause (1838), are worthy of notice. A 4 History of 
European Music,' by R. G. Kiesewetter, gives a clear account 
of the progress of the art through various styles of composition, 
from the first ecclesiastical music to that of the present day. A 
work by Justus Thibaut 1 On the Purity of Music,' which was 
written in 1825, still deserves notice for its judicious remarks on the 
distinction between the secular and sacred styles of composition. 

A considerable part of the literary criticism of Germany de- 
serves high commendation for its candour, carefulness, and philoso- 
phical consistency. A German critic of the highest class generally 
writes with such a consistent adherence to certain principles of 
taste and judgment, that, while we may dissent from his conclu- 
sions, we cannot call them arbitrary. His first care is to under- 
stand fairly the meaning of an author, and to this task he will 
often devote an amount of attention which would be regarded by 



a flippant or mcrcenaiy reviewer as wasted labour. The true 
critic will not condemn any work on the ground of mere individual 
taste or distaste, and therefore fmds it necessary to have a basis 
for all Iiis judgments in some consistent and comprehensive philo- 
sophy. His System of principles may be defective ; but at least, 
as it gives reasons for conclusions, and is open to amendments, it 
is far better than dogmatism. In these respects the instances of 
learning and industry devoted to criticism in Germany cannot be 
estimated too highly as good examples which, if followed, may 
olevate the tone of general literature. If that order of literature 
which is the symbol of the best thoughts and the highest interests 
of men is to be preserved, as distinct frora the ephemeral produc- 
tions which Surround it ; if one of the highest occupations of mind 
and soul is to be distinguished from an idle and trivial pastime, 
the critic who undertakes the important task of making such dis- 
tinctions, must be prepared for his duties by profound philoso- 
phical views. 


Narratives of Voyages and Travels supply a considerable 
part of the light literature of Germany; but comparatively few 
productions in this department possess remarkable literary merit 
or permanent interest. Yet some German travellers, such as 
Humboldt, Martius, Müiilenpfordt, and Tschudi, well quali- 
fied for their tasks by scientific attainments, have produced, as 
the results of their researches, works of considerable value ; espe- 
cially on the natural history and the social condition of various 
countries in South America. 

Carsten Niebuhr, the father of the historian of Rome, dis- 
played in his enterprise as a traveller something of the same spirit 
which Iiis distinguished son devoted to historical investigations. 
He published an interesting narrative of Iiis ' Travels in Arabia 
and the Surrounding Countries ' (1774-1778), and later researches 
in the same districts have confirmed Iiis Statements. George 
Forster (1754-1794) accompanied his father in Cook's voyage 
round the world. Afterwards he resided at Paris, and became 
involved in the events of the French Revolution. His travels, 
entitled 1 Views in Holland, England, and France ' (1792), still 
retain their interest, chiefly on account of their notices of works 
of art. 

Qualities rarely united in one individual meet in the charac ter 
of Alexander von Humboldt, bom in 1769 — an enterprising 
traveller, a man of extensive science, and a poetic writer. In 
1799, accompanied by his friend Bonpland, he left Europe to visit 



the Spanisli colonies in South America. After five years of ad- 
venturous research among the wonders of nature, he retumed to 
Europe in 1804, and prepared for the press the interesting results 
of his travels. His ' Aspects of Nature' were published in 1808, 
' Picturesque Views of the Cordilleras' in 1810, and ' Travels in 
the Equinoctial Regions of America ' in 1815. This veteran 
Student of nature has produced, even in advanced age, a remark- 
able work, entitled ' Kosmos ' (1845 — ), containing the results of a 
long life of Observation and contemplation. In the first part, it 
gives general views of the economy of nature ; while in the second 
part we find ingenious speculations regarding the influence of 
nature on human society in its various stages of culture. Perhaps 
we may venture to say that sometimes imagination plays too pro- 
minent a part in these speculations ; but even when we do not 
fully agree with the author, we find his observations remarkably 
suggestive. In one passage, speaking of the beneficial intluence of 
natural studies, he suggests that, ' if spacious panoramic buildings, 
containing a series of landscapes from various regions of the earth, 
and various points of elevation, were erected in our cities, and, 
like our museums and galleries of paintings, thrown freely open to 
the people, it would be a powerful means of making the sublime 
grandeur of the creation more widely known and feit.' Hum- 
boldt's writings combine the investigations of a scientific mind 
with the style of a poetical imagination. The following passage 
is extracted from the 1 Aspects of Nature : ' — 


' When we explore the surface and the recesses of nature on 
every side, our wonder must be excited by the universal diffusion of 
life. The air, even around the frozen poles, resounds with the cries 
of birds and the murmurings of hosts of insects. And life is found 
not only in the lower and denser strata of the atmosphere, but also 
in its higher and more ethereal regions. If we climb to the loftiest 
ridges of the Peruvian Cordilleras, or to the snowy sumniit of Mont 
Blanc, we still find life surrounding us. Even on the sumniit of 
Chimborazo, nearly twice the height of our Mont Blanc, we found 
butterflies and other winged insects living. These had probably 
been carried to that elevation by an ascending current of air ; but 
there they maintained their existence for a time, as a striking proof 
how the pliant powers of animal life can endure the rigorous climate 
which puts a limit to the spread of Vegetation. And higher than 
the conical peak of TenerifFe would be, even if reared upon the 
frozen summits of the Pyrenees ; higher than all the peaks of the 
Andes chain of mountains, that giant of the vultures, the condor, 
hovers in the cold, thin air, looking over immense tracts of snow 
and scanty herbage in quest of prey ; while the young vicuma, 



and othcr grazing animals, clothed with delicate wool, invite the 

appetite of the voracious bird When we descend from thesc 

aerial altitudes, we find a difiiculty in answering the question, 
whether the unfathomablc depth of the ocean, or the surface of the 
land, contains the greater abnndance of life. The waves of the sea 
are often lighted up, over a space of many Square miles, with the 
sparkling phosphorescence of myriads of marine, gelatinous insects 
so that the surface of the sea is changed into the appearance of an 
ocean of fire. I shall never forget the spectacle presented by this 
phenomenon during the tropical nights which I enjoyed on the 
southern ocean ; when the constellations of the ship and the cross 
were radiant in the sky ; white dolphins, shooting past, and playing 
around our vessel, left behind them long flashes of light on the 
foaming water. And not only in the sea, but also in our inland 
lakes and standing waters, we find countless insects marked by raost 

Singular forms 

'But let us turn our attention for the present to the processes of 
Vegetation, which furnish the support of all animal life. Even in 
the most minute lichens and mosses, we see the beginning of that 
organic process which draws from the earth and the air that nutri- 
ment which, in a more advanced stage of life, will circulate through 
the nerves and veins of intelligent beings. The covering which 
Flora draws over the earth, is richly varied in texture and colours : 
we find its greatest density beneath the unclouded sun glowing in 
the tropical sky ; white it is scanty in the regions where polar frost 
imprisons or destroys the germs of vegetable life. But everywhere 
the endeavours of nature to extend life are manifcsted. If a sub- 
marine volcano suddenly throws up an island above the level of the 
sea ; or (to employ a more pleasing phenomenon) when the myriads 
of coral insects, after the labours of thousands of their generations, 
have reared their structure above the waves, we find the powers of 
nature ready to propagate life on this new island of the South Sea, 
and to draw over its coral surface a covering of living green. 
Wandering sea-birds, the winds and the billows, are probably the 
agents employed to carry the germs of life to the barren island. 
Even in our northern climate, the surfaces of rocks exposed to the 
air are soon covered with small stains, which, on examination, are 
found to be delicate lichens, in several varieties ; some having the 
most simple forms, white others show their forked branches. As 
they advance in age, their colours change from bright yellow to 
brown, or from a bluish-gray to a dusky hue. These spots and 
circles extend, and join each other; and now, upon this first cover- 
ing, another variety of lichens grows up in shining white circles. 
And so we find successive Orders of Vegetation arranging themselves 
in strata, as in human life we find a new colony gradually peopled 
by various classes of society. Thus the primitive foundations of the 
loftiest trees that wave their crests over the forest may be found 
in tiny lichens, or scarcely visible specks of Vegetation on stones. 
Between these two extremes, mosses, grasses, leafy plante, and 



shrubs, have filled the unraeasured interval with their successive 
developments. In the tropica this process is carried on more 
rapidly by varieties of vegetable life not known in our northern cli- 
mate ; but cverywhere the green covering of the earth has had its 

epochs, like the history of the latter human race Beneath 

the glow of the tropical sim the vegetable world unfolds its most 
splendid produetions. Here, while in our cold north;, the bark of 
trees is decorated only with lichens and mosses, beautiful fiowers 
grow along the trunks of forest-trees ; cymbidium and the fragrant 
vanüla deck the steins of the anacardia and the gigantic fig-tree ; 
the fresh green of the leaves of various trees is contrasted with the 
many-coloured blossoms of the orchidece : luxuriant climbing-plants, 
such as passion-flowers and yellow banisterice, are twined about the 
stems ; and delicate flowers spring out of the roots of the theobromee, 
and from the rind of the crescentice and the gustavice. And so dense 
is the intermingling of trees, shrubs, and climbing-plants in a tropical 
forest, tliat it is often difficult to discover to what stems the various 
fiowers belong. Here plants and trees are fed with a more exube- 
rant sap, and put forth more luxuriant foliage of brighter hues, than 
we see in the north. The uniform grasses which monopolise so 
mach space in colder climates, are here lost amid richer varieties of 
Vegetation. Trees rising to almost twice the height of our oaks are 
profusely garlanded with flowers. On the woody banks of the river 
Magdalene (in South America) the aristolochia luxuriates, produc- 
ing flowers, each four feet in circumference, which the Indian boys, 
in sport, sometimes draw over their heads ; and, in the Indian 
Archipelago, the flower of the rafflesia grows to be nearly three 
feet in diameter, and weighs fourteen pounds. Yet in the tropics 
some tracts of land are so elevated, as to suit the produetions of 
our northern climate ; so that while palms and Pisang- shrubs are 
flourishing in the Valleys, cypresses, pines, oaks, and alder- trees 
wave their branches on the sides of the hüls.' 

Philipp Martius (born in 1794) is a writer on the scenery 
of South America, who may be classed with Humboldt, on aecount 
of the scientific contents of his works, and the poetical style of 
his descriptions. He was associated with a friend, Johann 
von Spix, in the researches of which he gives the results in 
his 'Travels in BraziT (1823-1828). A passage from this inte- 
resting work will be a pleasant sequel to the above quotation 
from Humboldt : — 


'The Student of nature who enters one of the primeval forests 
of Brazil, is surprised by the countless varieties of forms, colours, 
and sounds of animal life which here Surround him. Every hour 
of the day see'ms to call into activity some distinet class of creatures, 
excepting at noon, when all animals seek repose and shelter from 



the heat, while a majestic silence rests on the tropical landscape, 
bathed in brilliant sunshine. As soon as morning dawns, the noises 
of companies of howling apes, the bass tones of the green frog, 
and the chirpings of innumerable grasshoppers, hail the approaching 
day. "When the sun has dispersed the mists of night, all animal life in 
the forest is awakened and excited. The wasps leave their pendent 
nests on the boughs, swarms of ants issue from their mud houses, 
and begin their daily travels in their accustomed roads, and the for- 
midable termites come out of their hillocks. Butterflies decked with 
all the huesof the rainbow, but especially countless hesperides, flutter 
from flower to flower, or along the sandy banks of some rivulet. 
The blue, glistening menelaus, nestor, adonis, laertes, the blue- 
white idea, and the large and curiously-painted eurilochus, among 
other butterflies, hover like birds in the moist Valleys and among 
the green bushes. The feronia, with rustling wings, flies from tree 
to tree ; while the largest of the moths, or night-butterflics — the 
hawk-moth — rests with outspread wings on the rind of a tree, waiting 
for his time of play in the evening. Myriads of beetles and cock- 
chafers, shining like gems among the green leaves and flowers, are 
buzzing in the air. Lizards of remarkable size, and of singular forms 
and colours ; dusky and poisonous snakes, or bright-coloured and 
harmless reptiles, with painted skins surpassing all the surrounding 
flowers in brightness, come forth from their holes in the ground, 
or from IioIIoav trees, to bask in the sun, and to prey upon birds 
and insects. As the morning advances in warmth and splendour, 
life awakens up throughout the forest. Squirrels leap from bough 
to bough; sociable apes swing from the branches, uttering their 
chattering and screaming noises, and then unite together in com- 
panies to go and commit their sly depredations in the neighbouring 
plantations ; birds of the pheasant tribe, such as jacüs, and hoccos, 
and many doves, seek their food on the ground ; while others, 
marked with brilliant hues, glance by hither and thither among the 
green foliage ; blue, green, and rose-coloured parrots climb up the 
trees, and All the air with their screams ; while the toucan assists 
in the chorus by striking his large hollow bill on the branches, and 
uttering now and then his loud and melancholy note ; the busy 
piroles leave their long pendent nests (which hang like large 
purses on the boughs) to visit the orange-trees ; but some stay at 
home to watch over their young, and utter shrill angry cries when 
a human foot treads near their nests ; the fly-catchers snap at the 
butterflies ; the thrush is hidden in some thicket, but makes known 
his joy by pouring out a clear stream of melody ; pipers are chatter- 
ing now here, now there, so as to lead the most cunning sports- 
man astray ; the " tap-tap-tap " of the woodpecker is heard dis- 
tinctly among all the other sounds ; but the loudest of all the 
musicians in this forest orchestra is the uraponga, who perches 
on the top of some high tree, and there produces his loud metallic 
notes, which sound almost like the strokes of a hammer on an 
anvil ! Meanwhile the beautiful humming-birds are darting about 



in tlie bright sunshine, among the gay flowers and grecn bushes, 
and glisten like Aying diamonds, emeralds, and sapphires ! Such 
is life in the forest until the sun goes down, when many creatures 
retire to rest. But still the slender roes, the timid pecari, the 
argouti, and the long-snouted tapir f continue feeding in quiet 
glades. And now several varieties of the feline race of quadrupeds 
come out to seek for prey amid the twilight. Again we hear the 
chatterings and screams of companies of apes returning from their 
predatory exploits in the plantations. The sloth, in the depth of 
the forest, cries as if for help out of some great difficulty ; the 
tree-frog begins Iiis evening croakings ; and the hootings of many 
owls teil the approach of night. But still there is radiance in the 
forest; for now swarms of fireflies perform their brilliant evolu- 
tions ; while large vampire-bats, like stränge spectres, flutter through 
the dusk of the tropical night.' 

Several other works by travellers in South America are worthy 
of notice, as containing interesting reading and valuable contri- 
butions to science. The ' Travels in Paraguay in the Years 1818— 
1826,' by J. R. Rengger, were published in 1835, and give de- 
tails on the zoology and botany, and also on the features of human 
society in that part of the new world. Other works on Paraguay 
contain instruetive aecounts of the temporary success and the 
ultimate failure of the missions established among the Indians by 
the Jesuits. The 1 Travels in Chili and Peru,' and a ' Voyage on the 
River Amazon in the Years 1827-1832,' by Eduard Pöppig, were 
published in 1835-1836, and are chiefly devoted to studies of natu- 
ral science ; but contain also many observations on the population 
of the countries described. The ' Travels in Peru,' by J. J. 
Tschudi, describe the adventures of some years of researches in 
the region of the silver mines, where material wealth and human 
misery are found together ; on the sides of the Arides mountains : 
in the beautiful Valleys, or the Sierra of Peru; and lastly, in its 
primeval forests. The various descendants of Spaniards and 
Indians are well described ; and the work may be commended as a 
conscientious and interesting produetion. Similar praise may be 
bestowed on ' A Description of the Republic of Mexico ' (1844), 
by Eduard Mühlenpfordt, though the arrangement of this 
work in the style of a treatise destroys the narrative interest 
generally expected in a traveller's diary. It gives the results of 
seven years of careful observations on the geography, the natural 
resources, and other statistics of a very interesting but badly- 
governed country. The descriptions of the past history and the 
present low condition of various Indian tribes must leave a melan- 
choly impression on the mind of the reader. The 'Travels in 
Mexico,' by J. Burkart, may be mentioned here. 



1 Travels in Kordofan,' by Ignatius Pallme, contain valuablc 
contributions to our knowledge of interior Africa, and suggest a 
northcrn route of exploration of that continent, from Egypt 
through Kordofan and Darfür; but the climate of these latter 
countries is enoughto postpone such an enterprise fora long time. 
Another African traveller, Heinrich Lichtenstein, in his ' Tra- 
vels in Southern Africa in the Years 1803-1806,' published in 
1811-1812, gives valuable notices of the various tribes by which 
that part of the world is peopled. The ' Travels in Abyssinia,' by 
Eduard Küppell (1838-1840), ' Travels in Algiers,' by Moritz 
Wagner (1841), and the work of the Chevalier Bunsen on 
' The Position of Egypt in the History of the World ' (1845), 
may be commended. The last work is not a book of travels, but 
a learned dissertation on the antiquities, and especially the primi- 
tive language, of Egypt. The learned Chevalier is very hopeful 
respecting the discoveries which may still be made regarding this 
ancient language, as he believes that five hundred of its root- 
words have already been found. It may be added, that he rejects 
the theory, that the Coptic language was that employed in monu- 
mental inscriptions. 

It might be supposed that England would have supplied a suffi- 
cient number of writers on the natural history, the ethnology, the 
languages, and the mythology of British India; but in Germany 
these subjects have excited more attention and study than among 
the people who possess and rule the country. It is a curious fact, 
that a sequestered Student in Berlin or Bonn should possess more 
knowledge of the antiquities, the language, the laws and traditions 
of the caste of Brahmins, than the people who live near them, and 
see them daily; but that such is the case, a reference to such a 
work as the ' Indian Antiquities,' by C. Lassen (1845), may prove. 
Other German writers have given the results of their travels in 
Hindoostan. The work of Karl von Hügel on 1 Cashmere and 
the Country of the Sikhs ' (1840-1843), is interesting, and füll of 
good sentiments. Another work, 1 Travels in the East Indies,' by 
Leopold von Orlich (1845), merits similar but higher commen- 

Some German travellers have favoured us with their observa- 
tions and opinions on England and the English people. The 
works of Prince Pückler Muskau, J. G. Kohl, and Dr 
Carus, may be mentionecl here, but do not require particular 
description, as they have been translated, and frequently reviewed. 
While their observations of facts are interesting, their speculations 
on English characteristics are sometimes amusing, on account of 
their incorrectness. A German is often disposed to theorise cx- 
tensively before he has well examined his data or facts. 



A great number of flippant tourists who liavo published trivial 
notes of adventures, sometimes real, and often fictitious, may be 
left unnoticed here. Such frivolous writers are as common in 
Germany as in England. It is a fact requiring especial remark in 
these times, that it by no means follows that because a gentleman 
has travelled through a country, he is qualified to write a book 
about it. Though the country may be as rieh in curiosities as 
China and Japan, unless he carries to it scientific attainments 
and habits of true Observation and reflection, he can bring back 
nothing worth reading. 

This section may be closed by a reference to the great geogra- 
phical work, ' A Universal Description of Countries and Nations, 7 
by Dr Berghaus (1836-1846). German literature is also en- 
riched with several extensive ' Libraries of Voyages and Travels,' 
including works translated from many languages. 


In every attempt to classify literature, we find many works 
which must be collectively styled miscellaneous. Thus, although 
Herder has been described as a poetical writer and a critic, 
several of his essays seem to belong to the present section. He 
must therefore be again noticed here, especially in connection with 
some other writers who are united with him by a common interest 
in the progress of general education. The following passage 
gives some of Herder's ideas on this subject : — 


' "What is the true meaning of this phrase, learning for life ? It 
implies the direction of our attention to such studies as may be use- 
fully applied to practical life. But this must not be understood in 
any narrow sense. Life is manifold in its requisitions, and none can 
teil exactly what aids his future circumstances will require. It must 
also be remembered that all knowledge is not immediately applic- 
able, and that one portion of education must be founded upon 
another. He who would inquire of every particular study proposed 
to him, " of what use will this be to me in life ? " would have a mis- 
taken view of our meaning. The merchanfc, when he collects money 
for future outlay, does not ask of every dollar, " to what particular 
use shall I apply this coin?" The admonition — "learn for life" — 
must bear a wider sense than this. To develop our faculties in fair 
Proportion one to another ; to exercise, as well as circumstances will 
allow, the powers of body and niind with which we are endowed, so 
that the requirements of society may find us, as far as possible, pre- 
pared and educated for our duties, this is the mode of learning for 
life. . . . This true style of education may be easily illustrated by con- 



trast with a partial and erroneous style. One student treats himself 
as if he was under a delusion, and imagined himself to be a pure, 
incorporcal intelligence ; he bends over his desk, and reads old 
authors until he becoraes an invalid, and perhaps a hypochondriac ; 
another cultivates his memory and his imagination, but neglects the 
powers of understanding and judgment; a third becomes a great 
thinker, but during the process, appears to have forgotten that he 
once had a heart ; another despises this cold mode of study, and pre- 
fers enthusiasm and fine sentiment, but has not one clear idea in his 
head: these varieties of error are all opposed to " learning for life;' r 
for lifo requires the energy of the undivided man with heart and 
head, thought, will, and action, and these all exercised in no mere 
pastime, but in earnest occupation. Where is the man who does 
not feel Iiis deficiency when tried by this Standard of education? 
When we look back on our studies, how many necessary prepara- 
tions for life have we neglected ! Youth, be warned and instructed 
by our errors ! The times in which you will probably live will re- 
quire something more than merely nominal learning. Men will be 
wanted; men of true insight and sound understanding; scholars 
acquainted not only with books, but also with nature, the world, 
and the circumstances and necessities of society. The days when 
Virgilian pastorals or Anacreontic odes were accepted as proofs of 
consummate education have passed away.' .... 

It is remarkable that in Germany, which is generally regarded 
as the home of abstruse studies, several modern writers have zea- 
lously contended in favour of a practical education with regard to 
the circumstances of actual life. Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi 
(1745-1827) applied to the education of the poor the principles 
found in our quotation from Herder. The writings of Rousseau 
first directed the attention of Pestalozzi to the necessity of an im- 
proved method of education; but it must be regretted that he 
founded his plans on some extreme doctrines respecting human 
nature, which excited Opposition. He did not, however, rest long 
in theories, but proceeded to make an experiment in education, 
by taking the children of vagrants into his house in 1775. The 
results of the physical and mental discipline exercised on these un- 
promising pupils were so far encouraging, that Pestalozzi extended 
his educational institution in 1781 ; but the failure of his funds 
compelled him to abandon it in 1797. He afterwards found patron- 
age, and united in an educational enterprise with Fellenberg, a man 
of congenial principles. The important maxim of this writer was, 
that a true education must include a training of the physical as 
well as the mental and moral powers, with a constant reference to 
the real circumstances of life. He says, with especial regard to 
the training of the children of the poor — ' These children have no 
earthly possessions. Their own faculties of body and mind are 



their sole property, and the only support of their future existence 
and welfare. These powers, therefore, should be well developed. 
Our pupils must be trained in early lifo to find delight in the exer- 
cise of those faculties on which their own welfare and that of 
society depends. Word-knowledge has no value for thera, unless 
it is united with their duties and interests. The cultivation of the 
mind, therefore, must not withdraw attention from bodily labour. 
The heart must be trained to acquiesce in the necessities of real 
life, and to inspire the labour of the hands with noble motives. 
Discipline, study, and manual industry, must be united. And when 
the appointed tasks of the day have been duly fulfilled, then let 
harmonious songs and pleasant pastimes occupy leisure, and show 
that gladness may accompany labour.' 

Soon after the decease of Pestalozzi, who had directed his 
attention chiefly to the education of the poor, Friedrich Jahn 
(1778) became noted for his zealous endeavours to promote health- 
ful physical education in all classes of society. His writings de- 
serve notice for theh* practical value, though they have no great 
literarymerit. He wrote a work on ' Grymnastic Training' (1816), 
opened grounds for physical games and exercises, and gained great 
popularity as the restorer of an essential and long-neglected part 
of education. He was suspected of having political designs in 
gathering together companies of young men, and was excluded 
from public activity for some time. This suspicion was, however, 
removed, and he continued to recommend his principles in an ear- 
nest and patriotic style. He says truly: — ' However the fact may 
be neglected, man must have a healthy and powerful physical 
System, as well as an educated mind, in order to fulfil the duties of 
life in this real world. If his body is not trained to habits of acti- 
vity and endurance, it will become a burthen rather than a helpmate 
to the mind. Gymnastics, therefore, must be an essential part of 
human education, and it is time to bring them again into general 
notice.' He then proceeds to argue that such exercises are not 
only important with regard to the physical welfare of individuals, 
but must also have a good influence in promoting health of mind, 
and may thus conduce even to the general welfare of a country. 
The arguments'of Jahn deserve general attention, and we may ex- 
tencl thisremark to another writer on the same subject, Friedrich. 
Klumpp (1790). "When Thiersch, the classical scholar, produced 
his work on ' Education According to the Principles of True Hu- 
manity,' Klumpp replied to it in a book bearing a similar title, 
contending for physical trainmg on Christian principles, which he 
opposed to the System that he styled ' the hyper-classical mode 
of education.' But he afterwards moderated some of the opinions 
contained in this book, and advocated a union of classical and 



' humanistic ' studies and exercises in all schools and iiniversities. 
The writings and lectures of Jahn and Klumpp had considerable 
influence inextending wholesome views of the objects of education, 
and have contributed to reduce classical and verbal studies from 
their supremacy to a just and reasonable position in relation to 
human life. Karl von Raumer (1783), a writer in several de- 
partments of literature, produced a ' History of the Science of 
Education' (1843-1846). In the following passage, he charac- 
terises the tendencies of exclusive modes of education : — 


* After receiving a common rudimental education, our children are 
divided into two classes, destined to follow extremely opposite avo- 
cations. One class is devoted to mechanism, the other to scholar- 
ship. Pupils of the first class leave the elementary school, and 
immediately go into the Workshop ; while youths of the second class 
go to complete their studies in our universities. After this division, 
they meet no more, but proceed in opposite directions, one being 

devoted to practice, the other to learning The youth who is to 

enjoy a learned education, neglects the training of his limbs and 
senses. He sits and reads books, or listens to lectures. He must 
derive his knowledge of the World from words, and therefore a great 
portion of his time is spent in the acquisition of languages. Geo- 
graphy and history give him a theoretical acquaintance with many 
nations. In pure mathematics he learns the laws of the material 
world, but is not required to practise the application of these laws. 
.... He lives chiefly in thought, and his study or library is the only 
world with which he is truly acquainted. Of the ideas and the pro- 
gress of society around him he knows little, and, if required to take 
some part in its affairs, his theoretical training would exhibit its de- 
fects. He knows perhaps more of Athens and Rome than of his own 
native town, and understands the Attic, the Ionic, and the Doric 
dialects better than the distinctions between High and Low German. 
He could describe the retreat of Xenophon better than the way to 
some villages in his own neighbourhood. He has studied pure 
mathematics, and can give a fair account of the laws of mechanics, 
but cannot give directions for setting up a common hand-mill, to say 
nothing about making one, 

' This is a description of our model man of learning. On the other 
side we may exhibit our model mechanic. He is entirely confined 
to present realities. He lives not in thought and intelligence, but 
rather as an animated machine for certain uses. Condemned to 
some monotonous toil for daily bread, he has no intellect to expiore 
life beyond his immediate neighbourhood. His Workshop, Iiis cot- 
tage, and the town or village in which he lives, constitute his world. 
He has not learned to relieve the toil and care of common life by 
expanding his mind in the contemplation of higher subjects. He 
does not even inquire how the art which he practises originated, but 



uses it as mcchanically as if he Avas a part of a macliinc, and cannot 
even explain what he does in intelligible language. These are fair 
Sketches of our exclusive men of scholarship and ignorant mechanics, 
but happily such extreme characters are now diminishing in num- 
ber. Practical life now enforces its claims on the attention of men 
of learning. Men who leave our universitics, and enter into actual 
life as doctors, or preachers, or local authorities, find a necessity of 
opening their eyes to present realities, and adapting themselves to 
the circumstances of the people. Our literary men have long ne- 
glected to cultivate the powers which practical society urgently de- 
mands ; but lately there have been signs of an approaching union 
between learning and life. Even our mechanics have made some 
advances in intellectual culture, and we may now hope that the two 
extremes of education which we have described may be brought 
into a reasonable intercourse with each other.' 

Among the letters of Niebuhr, the historian, we find one on 
' Education,' which contains such sound and valuable advice to a 
young Student, that a portion of it well deserves a place here. It 
is one of the most sincere and benevolent reproofs of shallowness 
and presumption that can be found in literature. It may be pre- 
mised that the ' student ' had mentioned to Niebuhr two juvenile 
essays, one on ' Roman colonisation,' and the other on a philo- 
sophical topic. The historian refers to these essays in the fol- 
lowing letter : — • 


'It is well that you have not forwarded to me the two essays 
mentioned in your letter, as it is impossible for one of your age to 
write anything of value on such subjects. There are many par- 
ticular topics [in history] which cannot be understood without a 
comprehensive knowledge of the whole to which they belong. It is 
true that you must advance towards a knowledge of the whole by 
many careful studies of its distinct parts ; but when you have thus 
studied all the particular periods of a history, you must not imagine 
that you know fully even one of them, until you comprehend all the 
mutual relations which unite them together in a System. If you 
keep this truth in view, you will not regard your particular studies 
as complete in themselves, but as conducing to a good final result. 
I began my own studies in ancient history by reading Polybius, and 
thus gained a considerable acquaintance with the era of Cleomenes 
before I understood much of the life and times of Pericles; but I did 
not fall into the error of supposing that I had gained from Polybius 
a fair knowledge of Grecian history, or even a füll acquaintance with 
one portion of it. I knew that my knowledge was a mere fragmenfc 
broken from a great whole, and feit convinced that I must not pre- 
tend to understand and criticise even this fragment until I had 
studied the whole. So I continued my reading, labouring on, and 



learning more and more, as I still do every day (when I can find 
leisure), in order to gain a clear and vivid insight into ancient lifo 
and history. You teil me that you have commenced writing an 
u Essay on the Roman Colonies, and tlieir Influence on the State." 
But you cannot have even half a right notion of such a subject as 
" Roman colonies ;" and to write anything well about"their influ- 
ence on the State," you must possess not only a deep insight into 
Roman institutions and history, but also a comprehensive knowledge 
of politics and political history. Such attainments are impossible at 
your season of life. I do not undervalue your talents, for I assure 
you that we of ripe years who now venture to style ourselves philo- 
logers — nay, even Grotius, or Scaliger, or Salmasius (though they 
were precocious in scholarship), could not have written well on such 
a subject as " Roman colonisation " at your age. With regard to 
your second [philosophical] essay, its subject is still more unsuitable- 
for the pen of a neophyte. Your knowledge of history must contain 
the fact, that in ancient times the study of philosophy for youths, 
even beyond your years, consisted in silent and modest listening to 
the doctrines of their master. At your age I do not expect that you 
will understand fully even Single facts. To measure degrees of pro- 
bability, and to reason correctly on the analogies of facts, these are 
duties far beyond your present capabilities. To learn, my dear Mar- 
cus — to learn conscientiously, going on daily, patiently, increasing our 
knowledge, and carefully testing it also, this is the true vocation of 
our intellectual life, especially during youth, when we can devote 
ourselves to study without the interruptions of care and business. 
The youth who writes an essay steps out of his place as a learner, and 
assumes to teach. But the office of a teacher requires mature wis- 
dom, which I neither expect nor wish to find in youth. Mature and 
sound philosophy is the precious recompense which God gives to in- 
dustrious, striving students, but not before the days of youth have 
passed away. I do not wish to see such a prodigy as a mature 

philosopher and a youth in one person 

' Above all, let us maintain a strict conscientiousness in all our 
literary labours. Let us avoid false show and insincerity of every 
kind and in every degree. We must not write in a tone of certainty 
even one line of which we have any doubt. If we give a supposition, 
let it appear in its own true character, and let not a word be added 
to make it appear more than it really is. To be sincere, we must be 
ready not only to admit, but even to point out, defects in our own 
works, when it is not likely that others will discover them. If a 
w riter cannot solemnly aver, when he lays his pen aside — " I have 
not written, knowingly, one untrue line : I have not represented the 
views of my Opponent in any false style, which I shaU regret in my 
dying hour " — if he cannot say this, all his studies and attainments in 
literature have served to corrupt, rather than to ennoble his moral 
nature. I wouid not recommend this strict test of honesty to others, 
if conscience could accuse me of having neglected to apply it to my 
own conduet. Conscientious splf-suspicion, united with my views 



regarding the attainments wliich one ought to possess before ho 
ventures to appear as a writer, restrained mc from authorship for 
many years. My regard for sincerity has also prevented my follow- 
ing the plan of some historical authors, who, in borrowing quotations 
which thcy have verified by reference to the Originals, neglect to 
mention the works in which they found such passages. Though it is 
inelegant to cite two works instead of one, I always give the whole 
truth in such cases, as I do not wish to appropriate the learning of 
other authors. I strongly recommend my own practice in this 
respect to all young students, as a regulär and wholesome exercise 
of honesty 

* I must now give a few hints respecting your reading. I do 
not wish you to show a partiality for such writings as the satires of 
Horace. These satires, which expose the mean and wretched side 
of human nature during a time of corruption, are not suitable read- 
ing for youth ; and in ancient times such books would not have been 
placed in the hands of young men. Turn away from them to Homer, 
iEschylus, Sophocles, and Pindar ; to works which will make you an 
inmate of a superior world, and acquainted with great men and 
heroic deeds. Among prose-writers, devote yourself to Thucydides, 
Demosthenes, Plutarch, Cicero, Livy, Csesar, Sallust, and Tacitus. 
Do not read their works to criticise them, but to fill your mind with 
their thoughts. Listen to them as you ought to listen to the voices 
of the great men of antiquity. This is the true philology which 
ennobles and refines the soul ; and all our erudition should be 
regarded as a mere instrument devoted to a high purpose. We 
must study grammar (in its ancient, comprehensive meaning) and 
all other branches of classical learning ; but even if we become so 
erudite as to make brilliant emendations in old texts, or explana- 
tions of the darkest passages, it is all nothing if our learning does 
not lead us to a genial acquaintance with the moral life and the 
intellectual power of the ancient world.' 

A book written by a lady who devoted her studies to the science 
of education, Caroline Louise Rudolpiii (1750-1811), may be 
mentioned here. It is entitled 1 Pictures of Female Education,' 
and is written in an unassuming and pleasing style. Another 
work, the ' Doctrine of Education,' by Heinrich Schwarz (1835), 
is marked by religious purposes and liberal views. 

Several writers of miscellaneous and moral essays may now be 
briefly noticed. Adolphus Knigge (1752-1796) is still remem- 
bered as the author of a curious book on ' Social Intercourse,' in 
which he gives prudent rules of conduct in the various relations 
of society, teaching his readers Low to find friends, and avoid 
enemies. It may be remarked that this author was very unfortu- 
nate in the practice of his own maxims, as he was often involved 
in disputes and unpleasant circumstances. 

Heinrich Zschokke, who has been described as the writer of 



inany didactic tales, wrote also, and published anonymously, a 
meditative work entitled 1 Hours of Devotion,' which was exceed- 
ingly populär in Germany. The following may serve as a speci- 
men of numerous miscellaneous essays by this writer : — 


' The liistory of our own times is only a short passage in a great 
drama performed on the stage of the world, where humanity divides 
itself into two parties. The contentions of these two parties form 
the plot. . . . There are two great tendencies in humanity : one 
toward the earth, or, in other words, toward selfish and temporal 
possessions and enjoyments; the other toward spiritual and eternal 
truth, freedom, and justice. From these two tendencies two parties 
have arisen, and have maintained from age to age the same confüct 
under a variety of names, banners, and battle-cries. As far as we can 
carry back our researches in history, we shall find that the greatest 
events in all times have resulted from one perpetual conflict between 
the temporal and eternal, partial and general, earthly and spiritual 
interests. While one side has striven to defend and maintain such 
possessions as distinguishing vestments, stars of honour, mitres, bags 
of gold, and tables of ancestry, the other has contended for such 
seemingly abstruse matters as religion, truth, and universal equity. 
The temporal party would confine law within a few conventional 
rules, dictated in a great measure by selfish interests : the eternal 
party would see laws based upon such principles of justice as may be 
made piain to every conscience. In Opposition to this party many 
dungeons have been built to imprison ideas ; but in vain ; for, even 
when its supporters have fallen, the idea has escaped unhurt by all 
the persecutions to which it has been exposed. Truth is a flame 
which will consume everything that is thrown upon it to quench it. 
The two parties are still engaged in open or secret contention at 
this present hour. In every age, some men of noble minds have 
devoted themselves to general and eternal interests, in Opposition 
to the plans of the selfish and shortsighted mortals who have stig- 
matised the lovers of truth with such names as u visionaries," 
" heretics," and " dreamers." In ancient and barbarous times, the 
number of these so-called "visionaries " was small,but they increased 
under the influence of Grecian and Roman culture, and far more 
after the Promulgation of Christianity. At present, their number is 
considerable, though they must still be aecounted as a small minority 
when contrasted with the masses of earthly-minded men. They are 
scattered throughout all countries, yet they form a society bound 
together by invisible ties. "VVhen they meet, they can recognise each 
other as brother-spirits, without the use of any secret Symbols. 
Their distinetions of native country, civil rank, and religious pro- 
fession, do not divido the members of this society ; for while each 
knows how to value Iiis country, his Station, and Iiis creed, he also 
knows how to subordinate all other things to the interests of uni- 



versal himianity. Though thc men of this society have been trained 
in various schools, they are all studying the samc questions, all pur- 
suing the same objects. And what are these objects ? The same in 
Germany, England, Spain, Italy, France, and America — the dominion 
of sound reason and eternal justice, instead of thc cunning policy of 
convenience ; fair contracts between people and governors, as also 
between various nations, instead of military or ecclesiastical des- 
potism; a maternal State with no pets and no step-children — in 
short, no more selfish policy, but religious truth and justice in all 
public measures.' 

Karl Wangenheim (1773) is the author of several educational 
and political essays of good purport. Ignatius Wessenberg 
(1774), a vicar of the Romish Church, has written a cahn and argu- 
mentative essay on the ' Moral Infmence of the Stage,' in which 
some serious objections are raised against theatrical Performances. 
The 'Views of Human Life,' and other essays and tales, by 
Friedrich Buhrlein (1777), are good in style and tendency. 
Karl Baron von Rumohr (1785), author of a 1 School of Cour- 
tesy' (1834), and Karl Gruneison (1802), may be numbered 
among the writers of pleasant essays. 

Two or three writers of the Mystic or Visionary School may be 
noticed here, as some of their works have found many readers in 
Germany, and have been translated and circulated in England. 
Justinus Kerner (1786) may serve as one example of several 
authors who have written on such topics as ' mesmerism 1 and 
1 somnambulism.' One of Iiis books bears the title, 'Incursions of 
the Ghostly World on our World ' (1835). Kerner also published 
a periodical styled 1 Magikon ' (1840), to explain bis visionary 
doctrines. Johann Karl Passavant (1790) may be classed 
among the advocates of Animal Magnetism, on which he wrote a 
book in 1821. He is also the author of an essay on the 1 Freedom 
of the Will' (1835). 

Germany has so long been noted for the production of mystical 
books, that a few remarks may be necessaiy here to explain the 
characteristics of such writings. The term ' mystic ' is strictly ap- 
plicable to the theological doctrines of such writers as Tauler in 
the fourteenth, and Böhme in the sixteenth Century; but many 
other works, including several on philosophy, and even on natural 
science, may be fairly described as mystical. Mysticism begins 
where inductive science ends ; or, in other words, when a writer, 
not satisfied with the imperfections of reasoning from facts, en- 
deavours to form theories on the ground of so-called 1 intuitions ' 
or sentiments. One example of this style will explain its nature 
better than any definition. Heinrich Steffens, who has been 
mentioned as a writer of fiction, has also written on natural philo- 



sophy. Thougli he is not generally esteemed as a mystical writer, 
a passage in one of Iiis works will aptly illustrate the preceding 
remarks respecting unnnmbered books marked by the mystic as 
opposed to the inductive style of reasoning. The object of the 
writer in the passage to which we refer is, to show that ' commo- 
tions or revolutions in human society have been frequently or 
generally attended with extraordmary phenomena in nature.' It 
rnay be observed by the reader that Steffens does not appeal to 
facts and chronology to support his theory, but to human belief 
and sentiments. He says, ' Every one must acknowledge the fact 
that man, as an individual, is intimately connected with the System 
of nature; that his existence, indeed, depends, as a part, on the 
whole to which it belongs. But we assert more than this. We 
maintain that history, as a whole, or as a total Organisation of all 
human events and relations, and nature, or the external world, 
have always existed in mysterious and intimate union. And as 
man was ordained to be the regulative principle in nature, so when 
his influence has not been duly exercised, the restless and violent 
elements of nature have displayed their ascendancy. This asser- 
tion is founded on the general convictions of mankind, which re* 

main even in the present age That a general sentiment in 

accordance with our assertion has pervaded all nations, and that in 
every age of the world, during times of commotion in human so- 
ciety, the people have expected with dread some extraordinary or 
destructive movements in nature, is too well known to be denied.'* 
Steffens proceeds to argue on this hypothesis in a mode which 
would represent the superstition of Norna (in Scott's ' Pirate ') as 
only a particular mistake of a general truth. It is remarkable 
that in Germany, where so many sceptical books have been writ- 
ten, the above style of reasoning has been very common. Many 
writcrs who are not styled ' visionaries ' have shown a tendency in 
favour of mysterious guesses and theories. For instance, Zschokke, 
who has been generally described as a sober and utilitarian writer, 
teils us in his ' Autobiography ' that he once was endowed with 
' the power of seeing past and distant events.' In another passage 
in the same book he expresses a firm belief in the theory of the 
* divining rod,'f as propounded by Dr Dousterswivel in the ' Anti- 

Among the writers of £ Political Essays,' few claim notice on 
account of literary merit. Gustavus, Count of Schlabrendorf, 
who wrote an essay on ' Napoleon and the French People ' (1804), 
was a man of remarkable character. He was born in 1750, lived 

* Anthropology (1821), by Heinrich Steffens. 

t A forked twig of bazel, which, when held in the hands of certain p«rsons. has 
been supposed to indicate subterranean Springs of water. 



in Paris durxng tlie revolutionaiy era, and was connected with 
some of its cvents, but not with its crimes. Though all his sym- 
pathies were populär, he was arrested as an ' aristocrat ' during 
tlie Reign of Terror, and passed eighteen months in a prison, daily 
expecting to be led out to the guillotine. He escaped from con- 
finement with an unshaken mind, but with his hair turned gray; 
and though he found so many of his brightest hopes for society 
disappomted by the outbreak of evil passions, he persevered in 
his benevolent efForts to promote public education and other 
social improvements until his death, which took place at Paris 
in 1824. 

The French invasion of Gerraany, which followed the Revolu- 
tion, produced a national excitement which had a considerable in- 
fluence on German literature. At this time, Johann Gottlieb 
Fichte, who has been described as a moral philosopher, pro- 
duced his patriotic ' Addresses to the German Nation' (1809). 
The following passage is extracted from the peroration of these 
addresses : — 


Germans! the voices of your ancestors are sounding from the 
oldest times — the men who destroyed Rome's despotism, the heroes 
who gave their lives to preserve inviolate these mountains, plains, 
and rivers which you allow a foreign despot to claim — these men, 
your forefathers, call to you, " If you reverence your origin, preserve 
sacred your rights by maintaining our patriotic devotion." .... And 
with this admonition from antiquity there are minglcd the voices of 
patriots of a later age. The men who contcnded for religious free- 
dom exhort you to carry out their conflict to its ultimate results. . . . 
And posterity, still unborn, has claims upon you. Your descendants 
must be involved in disgrace if you fail in your duty. Will you 
make yourselves bad links in the national chain which ought to unite 
your remotest posterity to that noble ancestry of which you profess 
to be proud ? Shall your descendants be tempted to use falsehood 
to hide their disgrace ? Must they say " No ! we are not descended 
from the Germans who were conquered in 1808." .... And many 
men in other lands conjure you now to maintain your freedom. For 
among all peoples there are souls who will not believe that the 
glorious promise of the dominion of justice, reason, and truth among 
men, is all a vain dream. No! they still trust in that promise, and 

pray you to fulfil your great part in its realisation Yea, all the 

wise and good in all tlie past generations of mankind join in my 
exhortation. They seem to lift up imploring hands in your presence, 
and beseech you to fulfil their ardent desires and aspirations. May I 
not say even that the divine plan of Providence is waiting for your 
co-operation ? Shall all who have believed in the progress of society 
and the possibility of just government among men, be scouted as 




silly dreamers? Shall all the dull souls who only awake from a 

slcepy lifo, like that of plants and animals, to direct their scorn 
against evcry noble purpose, be triumphant in their mockery ? You 
must ans wer these questions by your practical career. . . . 

* The old Roman world, with all its grandeur and glory, feil under the 
burthen of its own unworthiness and the power of our forefathers. 
And if my reasoning has been correct, you, the descendants of those 
hcroes who triumphed over corrupted Rome, are now the people to 
whose care the great interests of human ity are confided. The hopes 
of humanity for deliverance out of the depths of evil depend upon you ! 
If you fall, humanity falls with you ! Do not flatter yourselvcs with 
a vain consolation, imagining that future events, if not better, will 
be not worse than the events of past ages. If the modern civilised 
world sinks, like old Rome, into corruption, you may suppose that 
some half-barbarian, but energetic race, like the ancient Germans, 
may arise and establish a new order of society on the ruins of the 
old. But where will you find such a people now ? The surface 
of the earth has been explored. Every nation is known. Is there 
any half-barbarous race now existing and prepared to do the work 
of restoration as our ancestors did it? Every one must answer 
" No." Then my conclusion is established. If you, who constitute 
the centre of modern civilised society, fall into slavery and moral 
corruption, then humanity must fall with you— and without any 
hope of a restoration.' 

Johann Gottfried Seume (1763-1810) was remarkable in Iiis 
day as a soldier, a warm patriot, a political writer, and a cynical 
satirist. As a soldier, he narrowly escaped the punishment of 
death for desertion. He travelled in a lowly pedestrian style 
through Italy and Sicily, and published, in 1803, an aecount of 
his tour, which was well reeeived; but it contains chiefly descrip- 
tions of himself and his opinions, for which Italy and Sicily serve 
only as suggestions. As a satirist, Seume was too bitter to be 
amusing. His temper may be indicated by the following reeipe 
for satire, which we find among his aphorisms : — ' With regard to 
many of the phases of society, I would say, describe them care- 
fully exactly as they are, and you will surely produce a good 

Karl ZachariÄ, born in 1769, acquired reputation by his work 
on 'The Unity of the State and the Church' (1797), and has 
also written ' Outlines of a System of Penal Law ' (1826), and 
'Forty Books (or Chapters) on the State' (1820). In the second 
edition (1839-1843), this work extends to seven volumes. It has 
"been regarded in Germany as a work of considerable value. 

Friedrich von Gentz (1764-1832) was a political writer, 
•who eamestly opposed the tendencies of the French Revolution. 
His 1 Letter to Frederick- William HL of Prussia,' contains the 



fbllowing passage on a topic which has excitcd many discussions 
in Germany : — 


' One fact, without reference to any otlier, is sufficient to condcmn 
the law of ccnsorship of the press : and it is this — such a law can 
never be fairly administered. It would require a tribunal likc that 
of the Inquisition to maintain the consistency of such a law. The 
publication of opinions has such facilities, that all attempts to pre- 
vent its free course must appear idle and ridiculous. In short, 
a law against the freedom of the press may be vexations, but 
cannot be effectual. It cannot prevent evil, but it is sure to excite 
bad feelings, and even to produce the mischief which it is intended 
to counteract. The poorest productions of the press, which have 
scarcely a two hours' vitality in their contents, become prodigies 
of genius and boldness when they appear in Opposition to royal 
authority ! Tarne writers and shallow thinkers become u martyrs 
for the truth," and have to thank the censorship for all their fame. 
A thousand noxious insects, which might be destroyed by one sun- 
beam, creep forth in the darkness. In piain words, the most fri- 
volous and worthless books, are piquant, just because they are con- 
traband articles; while better books are neglected, because they 
do not possess the attraction of illegality. It is a matter of slight 
import to determine that the press shall produce some thousands, 
more or less, of books and pamphlets in these times ; but it is a 
subject of serious regret that your majesty should condescend to 
carry on an ineffectual warfare, and therefore I would earnestly re- 
commend that perfect freedom of the press should be established 
as one of the principles of your government.' 

Friedrich Kölle (1781), a writer who has been employed 
in several political offices, has gained some reputation by bis work 
entitled ' Considerations on Diplomacy ' (1838). Two satirical 
writers who meddled with political topics may be mentioned 
liere, as their productions once enjoyed notoriety, though they 
have no permanent value. Ludwig Börne, the son of Jewish 
parents (1786-1837), wrote many satirical and political essays, 
marked with bitter humour. He ridicules the slowness and 
patience of some of his countrymen by saying — 'If a German is 
required to act, he first goes back to the creation of the world, 
and studies the relations of the proposed action with all the facts 
of history; but before he has completed his great theory, the 
opportunity of action has passed away.' Heinrich Heine (1799), 
the son of Jewish parents, is well known as a satirical writer of 
prose and verse. His humour is often coarse and licentious. 
The notoriety which the productions of Börne and Heine once 
enjoyed amply confirms the remarks of Gentz on the censorship 
of the press. 



Among the more important political and Statistical works 
lately published, a few may be noticed. The ' Political Cyclo- 
psedia' (1846 — ), edited by Karl von Rotteck and Theodore 
WELCKER, extends to twelve volumes, containing articles by 
scveral writers on various political topics, all treated in a liberal 
style. The ' German Political and Legal History,' by Karl 
Friedrich Eichorn, which was first published in 1808, is still 
esteemed as a valuable work on political science. The ' Results 
of Moral History,' by H. L. von Gagern (1835-1837), contains 
comparative estimates of the influences of monarchy, aristocracy, 
and democracy, founded on extensive historical knowledge. Many 
other works in this department have raerits, but can hardly claim 
a place in general literature. While some political writers show 
a polemical spirit, others, prepared for theh* task by a compre- 
hensive study of history, earnestly endeavour to introduce the 
rules of strict science into the discussion of political and social 

While many works on the Physical Sciences are disfigured by 
ungrounded speculations and hazardous conjectures, others display 
industrious Observation, and sound, inductive philosophy. Alex- 
ander von Humboldt, already described as a scientific and enter- 
prising traveller, has given some of the most interesting results of 
Iiis travels and studies in his work entitled ' Views of Nature,' 
containing animated descriptions of natural phenomena with 
scientific explanations. 

Several German writers on Astronomy have mingled vague 
speculations with the results of this sublime science. As a speci- 
men of this unhappy confusion of truth with dreamery, we may 
pohit to a ' Natural History of the Starry Heavens 1 (1836) by 
Friedrich Gruitiiuisen. This work is written in a populär and 
interesting style, but contains, instead of astronomical facts, mere 
speculations on the origin and formation, the meteorology, the 
Vegetation, and even the zoology of the stars and planets ! Wliat- 
ever the ingenuity of the author may be, it is obvious that such a 
work should be classed rather among dream-books than works on 
science. Yet it deserves a notice here, as a fair specimen of many 
similar works. 

Hundreds of volumes are produced in Germany upon con- 
troversies which arise out of unfounded theories. The well- 
known anecdote of a discussion on the false supposition that a 
living fish, if put into a bowl of water, would not change the level 
of the fluid, is a good exposure of many so-called philosophical 
disputes. Even in cases where theory begins on the ground of 
certain facts, we often find, instead of a careful appreciation of 
these facts, and a patient scientific waiting for further disclosures 



of nature, that tlie theorist hastens on, by tlie help of imagination, 
to conclusions far from being implied in Iiis premises. A speci - 
men of this rapid process may be found in a work on ' The Central 
Sun ' (second edition, 1847), by Dr Mädler. The speculation con- 
tained in this work rests upon certain astronomical observations 
which deserve attention, though they are not snfficient to support 
the author's hypothesis. Dr Mädler professes to have discovered 
that the constellation of the 1 Pleiades ' is the central group of the 
whole System of fixed stars ; and he proceeds even further, and 
states that the star ' Alcyone, 1 in the Pleiades, is in all probability 
the central sim around which our solar System and all the fixed 
stars revolve. From this theory some curious speculations have 
been deduced. For instance, it has been calculated, on Dr 
Mädler's suppositions, that thirty thousand times the space of 
time occupied by the history of the earth from the date of the 
Mosaic account must be required to make one revolution of our 
solar System around 1 Alcyone ;' or, in other words, to make one 
year for the supposed inhabitants of tlie sun. Thus, if these in- 
habitants enjoy the longevity of threescore years, the whole his- 
tory of our globe must appear to one of them as an episode of 
existence comprised in a quarter of an hour, while the life of an 
earthly patriarch will be proportionately measured in a second. 
This is one instance of many flights of imagination which may be 
found in works bearing scientific titles. On the other side, some 
German writers have contended, with considerable ingenuity, 
against the hypothesis of rational inhabitants in the planets 
and fixed stars. It may be remembered that this hypothesis 
was once regarded so favourably, that a Scotch divine, Dr Chal- 
mers, wrote a series of eloquent discourses to reconcile it with 
Iiis religious doctrines. The writers who oppose this theory 
argue that, as man is the only rational being with whom we 
are acquainted by actual Observation, and as we only find him 
in certain conditions which meet on the earth, but not in any 
other star or planet, the hypothesis of rational inhabitants of 
the stars must be rejected, as having no correct analogies to 
support it. 

Turning from Astronomy to Chemistry, we find some works of 
remarkable merit in the latter science, and which may claim a 
place in general literature on account of their populär and interest- 
ing style. Justus Liebig has gained a wide reputation as one of 
the most acute and practical chemists of modern times. His work 
on ' Chemistry in its Applications to Agriculture and Physiology,' 
and his 1 Letters on Chemistry,' have been widely circulated, and 
have already produced important practical results. The great 



value of Liebig's application of chemical processes to agriculture 
is universally acknowledged ; but against some of his explanations 
of physiological processes by chemistry several serious objections 
have been raised, especially in an ' Essay on Physiological Che- 
mistry,' by G. J. Mulder, a Dutch chemist. It is allowed that 
Liebig has thrown light on some processes of animal life; for 
instance, the support of vital warmth by carbonised diet ; but, on 
the other side, it is maintained that the animal System modifies 
or suspends the processes of chemistry, as chemistry modifies 
the Operation of the mechanical laws ; and that, therefore, such 
processes as digestion, respiration, and circulation, cannot be 
fully explained by chemical laws. The controversy of Liebig 
and his opponents on this interesting subject has been carried 
on with a warmth of temper which should be avoided by men 
of science. The ' Physiological Letters for General Eeaders ' 
(1845), by Karl Vogt, may be commended here as populär and 

The geological works of Friedrich Hoffmann, a 'Physical 
Geography' (1837), a 'History of Geognosy and Volcanic Pheno- 
mena' (1838), and ' Lectures Delivered in Berlin' (1834-1835), 
may be noticed, as they combine scientific information wifch popu- 
larity of style. 

Every department of literature and science is represented in 
periodical publications. Among journals of general literature, the 
' Literary Times ' of Halle, the ' Literary Times ' of Jena, and 
another journal bearing the same name, and published at Berlin, 
may be mentioned. Several periodicals are devoted to historical 
researches. Theology is represented in the 1 Literary Adver- 
tiser,' edited by Dr Tholuck, the ' Ecclesiastical Times,' edited by 
Bretschneider and Zimmermann, and several other journals. The 
1 Orient ' represents Jewish history and literature. Even such 
an abstruse topic as speculative philosophy is periodicaily dis- 
cussed in the ' Journal of Philosophy, and Speculative Theology,' 
edited by Dr Fichte. Political economy, jurisprudence, the phy- 
sical sciences, architecture, archaeology, and music, have their 
respective periodicals. The organists of Germany have a journal 
devoted to their interest ; and the chess-player has his chronicle 
of games and problems. For further accounts of periodical lite- 
rature, we may refer to the ' History of J ournalism in Germany,' 
by E. C. Prutz. 

A brief analysis of one of the quarterly bibliographical cata- 
logues of Leipsic, the great book-market of Germany, -will give 
some notion of the literaiy productiveness of this country. In 
the following estimate, periodicals, new editions and collections of 


works, are included. The first section of thc quarterly catalogue 
of new publications is devoted to ' Encyelopaedias ' and ' Collccted 
Works,' and contains about fifty new books and new editions. 
The sccond section, 'Theology,' contains about three hundred works, 
of which upwards of a hundred, or nearly half the number, are 
Koman Catholic publications. In this section some curious con- 
trasts may be observed in the titles of books which stand together 
in alphabetical order. For instance, a Roman Catholic book, con- 
taining a narrative of some supposed modern miracle, such as 
< The Appearance of the Virgin Mary to Two Shepherd-Boys on 
a Hill m France in Autumn 1846,' may be found near some neolo- 
gical work of an extremely sceptical character. It may be observed, 
generally, that while Protestant works are chiefly critical and argu- 
mentative, writings of a devotional tone prevail among the works 
distinguished by the Eomish sign — f. The next section, on ' Politics' 
and ' Social Economy,' generally comprehends about three hundred 
books. This large number seems to confirm the Statement of a 
German writer, who says of his countrymen that they will not 
make one movement in politics until they have written a whole 
library about it. In the section on ' Medicine ' and ' Surgery ' we 
find upwards of one hundred publications ; and about one hundred 
and forty are devoted to 1 Natural History,' 1 Chemistry,' and 
' Pharmacy.' It is rather singular that books on ' Philosophy ' 
are classed in one section with books on ' Freemasonry,' as if 
these two subjects had been associated in the mind of the biblio- 
grapher under the common idea of mystery. This mysterious sec- 
tion contains about twenty works. In the next section, works on 
1 Education,' 1 School-books,' and 1 Juvenile Works,' amount to 
about one hundred and fifty. The eighth section contains about 
one hundred philological works on the ancient ' Classical' and the 
* Oriental Languages,' ' Mythology,' and other 1 Antiquities ;' while 
another hundred books are devoted to the study of ' Modem 
Languages.' ' History' and ' Biography ' are represented by about 
one hundred and fifty publications ; and a similar number will be 
generally found in the section of ' Geography,' including ' Voy- 
ages and Travels ;' ' Mathematics and Astronomy ' produce about 
forty or fifty publications ; and nearly an equal number may be 
sometimes found in the next section, which is devoted to ' Military 
Science, or the Art of War.' Here we find such titles as ' Instruc- 
tions for the Use of Shells and Eockets ;' or ' Ernst-Feuerwer- 
kerei,' which means literally, ' Fireworks in earnest.' It is pleasant, 
after noticing such formidable productions, to find that the next 
section on 1 Trade and Manufactures ' contains nearly a hundred 
works, devoted to peaceable and useful occupations, while some 



forty or fifty books represent the interests of 1 Machinery ' and 
' Railways.' The next section contains about twenty publications 
on £ Forest-Management,' ' Mining,' and ' Field-Sports.' (The ex- 
tensive forests of Germany form an important part of the wealth 
of the country, and their preservation employs many officials.) 
About fifty or sixty books appear under the titles of ' Domestic 
Economy,' ' Farming,' and 1 Gardening. 1 We pass, rather abruptly, 
from books on cookery and the growth of potatoes, to the section 
of ' Belies Lettres,' including all original works of fancy and 
imagination, novels, romances, and poetry, with a considerable 
number of translations from French and English anthors. The 
publications in this division generally amount to two hundred and 
upwards. About one hundred and fifty books are devoted to the 
' Fine Arts.' After this enumeration, it might be supposed that 
the public must be well supplied with reading for one quarter ; but 
the ' people ' have still to be provided with suitable books, of 
which we find a list in the last section, entitled ' Populär ' and 
1 Miscellaneous Works.' Here, among several useful and enter- 
taining books, we find some indications of the low literature of 
Germany in such titles as the following : ' The Whole Art of 

Fortune-Telling, by the Countess of B ;' or, ' The Dream-In- 

terpreter, by Jamin Benaral-Tamir.' Here one author, with ex- 
cessive benevolence, offers to the public, for half a dollar, ' a 
number of important recipes, by the use of which he (the author) 
has already realised a large fortune.' Here we find collections of 
* jokes, conundrums, and riddles, for children of allages,' ' anecdotes 
to beguile thne on the railway,' and other specimens of literature so 
light, as not to oppress the most feeble mental Constitution. Or we 
observe some republications of curious old books; for instance, 
' How to Live to the Age of One Hundred and Fifteen Years ;' or, 
*On the Use of the Wliip in the Cure of Certain Disorders.' 
Under the title of 1 The People's Library,' cheap translations of 
the novels of Eugene Sue and other French winters are widely 
circulated. However severe the German censorship of the press 
may have been in political affairs, it has overlooked, or regarded 
very leniently, many of the productions advertised as ' books for 
the people.' 

The literature of the world, ancient and modern, passes through 
the book-fair of Leipsic. Here may be found translations not 
only of the best works of all countries and ages, from the days 
of Homer to the present time, but also of the lightest modern 
productions. We may especially notice that translations of 
recent French fictions, of questionable tendency, have been very 
widely cuculated; while the English novelists, from Fielding 



down to the populär writers of the present day, havc fountl 
translators and numerous readers. Yet it cannot bc said that 
German readers have a fair and general knowledge of English 
literature. Even a critic will mention Pope, Byron, and Bulwer, 
as tliree of the cliief poets of England, while he appears to 
be unacquainted with such names as Cowper, Wordsworth, and 

The preceding shortnotices may suffice to showthat any attempt 
to characterise the literature of the present timewould behopeless. 
Germany is now a magazine of the produetions of all nations, and 
the world of books which it contains resembles a republic during 
a period of anarchy. Every class of contending tastes and opinions 
is now represented in the field of literature, and it is impossible to 
foretell to what party the victory will belong. All the contrasts 
of thought which have been developed in the course of many ages, 
meet in the Leipsic book-market. Here works of profound philo- 
sophical inquiry are ranged beside the most frivolous lictions; 
while books written to maintain the faith of past ages are found 
near others containmg the boldest innovations of opinion, and 
advocating the overthrow of all existing social, religious, and poli- 
tical institutions Moral philosophy and criticism vainly issue their 
censures, and attempt to exereise authority; for these sciences are 
themselves mvolved in doubt and strife, and how can they reduce- 
other discordant elements to order until their own disputes are 
adjusted? It is evident that the present condition of literature must 
have important effects not only on public opinion and taste, but 
also on the State of society ; but it is vain to speculate on the par- 
ticular nature of these results. These remarks especially apply to 
a large number of produetions of the press which have not been 
distinctly noticed m this treatise, but might be classified ander the 
title of ' revolutionary literature.' Few English readers have any 
just notions of the extreme tendencies of these publications which 
appear under the various fonns of philosophy, poetry, prose-fiction, 
and political discussion. While, in Germany, the progress of 
society has been in many respects slower than in England, the 
progress of theories has been fax more rapid. These theories, 
favourable to the most extensive changes in society and govern- 
ment, have been founded in certain abstruse philosophical Sys- 
tems, but are now rapidly translated into a populär style, and 
thus widely dhTused not only in Germany, but in several other 
parts of Europe. 

The following comparative estimate of the literary produetive- 
ness of several states of Germany is made with reference to about 
one himdred and seventy modern authors; and the period to 



which we refer extends from 1740 to 1840. Of these writers 
who have acquired general reputations in literature, the Duchy 
of Baden has produced four or five. Bavaria may be represented 
by about the same number, including Richter the novelist. The 
free city of Frankfort is the birthplace of eight authors, including 
Goethe. Other states may be represented in literature by the 
following numbers : — Hanover = 4 ; the Hanseatic Towns = 4 ; 
Hessen-Darmstadt = 3 ; Mecklenburg = 2 ; .Nassau = 1 ; Olden- 
burg = 2 ; Saxony = 8 ; The Duchies of Saxony = 6 ; Switzer- 
land=6; Würtemberg === 19. It is a remarkable fact that 
Austria, with its numerous and diversified population, has not 
produced one great writer, or even a modern author of established 
reputation in any department, if we except Hammer-Purg stall, 
the Oriental historian. Modern German literature is chiefly the 
produce of Prussia, which is represented by sixtij authors of con- 
siderable celebrity. Among the few foreigners who have been 
included in our notices of German writers, we may mention two 
natives of France, Huber and Chamisso; one Norwegian, Stef- 
fens ; and three Danes, Claudius, Count Stolberg, and Niebuhr 
the historian. Some brief notices of the professions of authors 
may present a contrast with English literary annals. Among the 
same one hundred and seventy modern writers, we find three of 
the raiers of Germany, Karl Friedrich, the ' good Duke ' of 
Baden; Joseph II. of Austria; and Karl August of Weimar, 
the patron of Goethe and Schiller. Twenty-two statesmen may 
be numbered among authors. Thirteen clergymen, including three 
Romish priests, have obtained reputations in general literature. 
The remaining number comprehends eight schoohnasters, or pri- 
vate tutors; thirty-one authors by profession, including such 
names as Schiller, Richter, Tieck, Uhland, and Menzel; 
six librarians ; three or four medical men ; three artists ; ten in- 
ferior officers of government; nine diplomatists ; and nine mili- 
tary men. Mendelssohn, the Jewish philosopher, and Nicolai, 
the satirist, were booksellers. The greatest number of authors 
is found among academical professors. In this department we 
find forty-two remarkable names, including the principal histo- 
rical and philosophical writers. This fact may serve to indicate 
the important influence which the universities of Germany exercise 
on its national literature. 

* We use the word • statesmen ' in its German sense, denoting all the superior 
officers of government, among whom we find the names of Goethe, Jaeobi, Moser, 
Müller (the historian), Vom Stein, Alexander von Humboldt, and Niebuhr, as dis- 
tinguished from the names of such writers as Rabener, Claudius, Wagner, Wacken- 
roder, and Novalis, who held inferior Offices under government. 



The following brief notices of the parentage of autliors may 
serve to confirm certain views of an interesting branch of statistics. 
About twenty modern authors are the descendants of aristocratic 
families, while we can hardly find a dozen who have immediately 
arisen from the ranks of peasants and mechanics. Among these 
iew we may mention Winkelmann, the son of a shoemaker; 
Fichte, the son of a weaver; and Tieck, whose father was a 
mechanic. The greatest number of authors, including the best, 
has been produced by the middle-classes. It may be added that, 
although Jews are numerous in Prussia and other parts of 
Germany, we find hardly more than half-a-dozen Jewish names 
among celebrated modern writers. The lives of literary men in 
Germany have been seldom marked with many interesting inci- 
dents. The path from obscurity to eminence has been so uniform, 
that the following outline of biography might serve for many 
authors: — 'M. N., the son of a country clergyman, was born in 
the village of H., and received the first elements of education 
from his father, afterwards, at the school in the neighbouring 
town of H. At the age of eighteen, he went to the university 
of L., where he studied philosophy and law. Afterwards, he was 
engagecl for four years as a private tutor in the family of Herr B., 
a gentleman holding an Office under government. Düring this 

time he wrote his work on , and gained such notice, that 

he received an appointment as extraordinary professor at the 
university of W., where he was afterwards appointed as professor 

of philosophy. He soon became celebrated by his work on , 

and was promoted to the office of privy-councillor.' It may be 
noticed here that literary men have, in Germany, opportunities 
of rising in society far more numerous than are afforded to the 
same class of intellectual labourers in England.* 

"We have noticed in this brief history of German literature 
three principal epochs of intellectual excitement. The first, or 
the era of the Crusades, was marked chiefly by its imaginative 
and poetical character: the second, or the Lutheran era, was 
chiefly occupied with political, religious, and ecclesiastical interests : 
the third, or the Modern Period (1770-1848), has been more pro- 
ductive than all preceding times, and has united the literature of 
Germany with the general literature of the world. While we may 
understand the past, we are unable to give a clear and fair analysis 
of the present; and still more hopeless would be the task of form- 
ing just opinions of the future. A few important facts are evi- 
dent. The present age is marked by a decay of originality and 

* This rcmark does not apply to wealth, but to recosnised rank or Station. 



power in poetry. Imaginative literature is still very voluminous, 
bat it grows rather in width than in height. It maybe questioned 
whether a great poetieal genius, if he appeared in the present 
time, would devote his powers to poetry. Germany is füll of 
undetermined questions of the highest importance respecting So- 
ciety, religion, and govemment. Materials for long controversies 
are abimdant, and many Symptoms would lead us to snppose that 
the next period mnst be an age of newspapers. Yet, as Ave have 
been able to trace a sure progress in the intellectual life of the 
past, we have reason to hope that, in some way which we cannot 
nnderstand, the movements of the future will be favourable to the 
progress of a sincere and elevating literature. 



Abbt, Thomas, essayist (1738-1766), 145 
Adelung, J. Christoph, lexicographer 

(1734-1806), --. - 154 
Advice (king of Tyrol's) to bis son, 

from ' Der Winsbeke,' - 43 

iEsthetics, Sölger's essays on, - 280 

Agriculture, Hoffmann's history of, 263 

Alberus, Erasmus, writer of fables, 72 

Almanacs, prophetic, from Schupp, 105 
Alting, Heinrich, theologian (1583- 

1644), 67 

Answer, a piain, from Schefer's poems, 180 
Archenholtz, Johann Von, historian, 255 
Architecture, works on, - - 289 
Arndt, Johann, theologian, - 88 
Arndt, Moritz, lyric poet (1769), - 177 
Arnim, w riter offiction, - - 211 
Arnold, Gottfried, theologian (1700), 107 
Art, the seductions of, from Tieck, 209 
Arts, fine and industrial, - - 289 
Astrological predictions, from Fis- 
chart, 81 

Astron omy, writers on, - - 310 

Auerbach, Berthold, writer of tales, 237 
Auersperg, Count, political song- 

writer, 180 

Austria, Mailath's history of, - 260 

Ayrer, Jacob, dramatic writer, - 74 

Bahr's history of Roman literature, 286 

Ballads, ancient, 14 

Bamnann's ' Reynard the Fox,* 47 

Beck, political song-writer, - 180 

Becker, K. F., historian (1842), - 248 

Beckstein, writer of fiction, - 237 

Beheim, Michael, poet (1421), - 51 

Berghaus's geographical works, - 297 

Berthold, sermons of (1272), - 50 

Berthold, theologian (1527), - - 88 

Besser, Johann, poet (1654-1729) - 94 

Bettina, writer offiction (1785), - 215 

Bible, annotated editions of, - 275 

Biedermann's German Philosoph}', 269 

Biography, .... 264 
Böhme, Jacob, mystical writer (1575), 88 

Boner, versifier (1330), - - 52 

Book -market of Germany, - - 312 

Books, from Lichtenberg's aphorisms, 132 


Börne, Ludwig, political essayist, 309 
Böttiger, K. W., historian, - - 248 
Brandt, Sebastian, satirical writer, 45 
Brazilian forest, Life in a, from Spix, 293 
Breitinger, Johann Jacob, poet, - 110 
Brentano, Clemens, writer of fiction, 211 
Brock es, Barthold, descriptive poet 

(1680-1747), .... 95 
Brucker, Johann, critic (1696-1770), 154 
Brummer, Johann, dramatist, - 57 
Brunnow, novelist, - 236 
Bulenhagen, Johann, theologian (1485— 

1558), 67 

Bullinger, Heinrich, theologian (1504- 

1575), 67 

Bunsen's (Chevalier) Egypt, - - 296 
Burger, Gottfried, bailad - writer 

(1748-1794), .... H5 
Burkart, travels of, in Mexico, - 295 
Busch, Johann, prose-writer (1728- 

1800), 129 

Camerariu3, Joachim, biographer 

(1500-1547), 90 

Candle, snuffing the, from Richter, 203 

Canitz, Friedrich, poet (1654-1699), 94 
Capito, Wolfgang Fabricius, polemic 

writer, 79 

Cellarius, C, philologer, 99 

Chalybaeus, EL, philosophical writer, 268 
Chamisso, Adalbert Von, poet, &c. 

(1781-1839), 175, 229 
Character, an Imaginative, from 

Goethe, 164 

Charlemagne, patronises literature, 15 

Chemistry, works on, - - - 311 
Chitraeus, David, historian ^1530— 

1600), 90 

Chivalry, the romances of, - - 32 

Christ, Life of, by Strauss, - 275 

Church histories,* - - - - 263 

Civilisation and culture, history of, 263 

Classical literature, ancient, works on, 284 

Claudius, Matthias, poet (1740-1815), 171 

Closener, Friedrich, prose-writer, 58 

Clubs, Literary, during 1624-1720, - 91 
Collin, Matthäus Von, dramatic poet 

(1779-1824), .... 194 




Comic candidates, from C. Weise, - 98 

Confession, from Der Renner, « 45 

Contentment, from Martin Opitz, 93 

Creuzer, G. F., philologist, - - 284 

Criticism, 276 

Cronegk, Friedrich, dramatist, - 110 

Crusades, history of, by Wilken, 253 
Crusades, the, effect of, on literature, 17 

Didactic versification of the Second 

Period, 42 

Dittmar, Heinrich, historian, - 248 

Dogmatism, from Martin Wieland, 142 

Döring, Heinrich, biographer, - 265 
Drama, the, - - 56, 96, 115, 183 

Droysen, Johann, biographer, - 249 

Drumann, Wilhelm, historian, - 251 

Eber, writer of hymns, - - 72 
Eberhard, Johann, theologian (1739- 

1809), 153 

Ebert, Arnold, poet (1723-1795), - 111 

Ecclesiastical History, - 263 
Education and educational writ- 

ings, 297-306 

Eginhard, biographer, - - 15 
Eichendorff, Joseph, writer of fic- 

tion, 232 

Eichorn, F., political writer, - - 310 
Emigrants, German, from Freili- 

grath's poems, - - - - 179 

Engel, Jacob, tale-writer (1741-1802), 137 

Erasmus, as a satirist, 71 

Esop's Fahles, Luther 's preface to, - 75 

Etterlin, Petermann, chronieler, 61 
Europe, Courts and Cabinets of, by 

Förster, - ' - - - - 253 
European States, Spittler's History 

of, 254 

Eyb, Albrecht Von, prose- writer 

(1460-1480;, ... - 58 

Faithful Eckart, legend of, - - 240 

Fatherland, from Arndt's poems, 177 

Faust, John, early printer, - 59 

Faustus, Dr, legend of (1587), - - 83 

Fichte, Gottlieb, philosophical writer, 267 

Fiction, German, character of, - 242 

Fischart, Johann, satirist, - - 80 
Flemming, Paul, writer of hymns 

(1609-1640), ... - 93 

Förster, F., historical writer, - - 253 
Fouque, F. de la Motte, writer of 

fiction, 217 

Franck, Sebastian, miscellancous 

writer, 83 

Franconia, populär customs in, from 
' 'The World-Book' of Sebastian 

Franck, ----- 86 
Frauenlob, lyric poet ( 1 250-1 318), - 39 
Frederick William I. of Prussia, cha- 
racter of, by Schlosser, - - 261 
Freiligrath, Ferdinand, poet (1810) 179 
Friedank's Moderation, written in 
1229, 42 


Garvc, Christian, essayist (1742-1798), 132 

Geiler, writer of sermons (1510), - 59 
Geliert, Christian, miscellaneous 

writer, - - - - - 111 

Gentz, F. Von, political writer, - 308 

Gerhard, Johann, poet (1606-1676), 94 

Geography, Ritter's great work on, 249 

Geography, Berghaus's works, - 297 

Gcological and geographical works, 312 
German language, on the use of, from 

Balthasar Schupp, - - - 104 

, origin of, - - 9 

, speeimen of, - 12 

German literature, modern, charac- 
ter of, 155 

German nation, address to, - - 307 

, Mascou's history of, 134 

German people, Menzel's history of, 254 

Gervinus, G. G., philologist, - 282 
Gessler, death of, from Schiller's 

' William Teil,' - - - - 190 

Gessner, Conrad (1516-1565), - 67 
Gcssner, Salomon, essayist, &e. (1730- 

1786), 129 

Gleim, Johann, poet (1793-1803), 112 

Gleisner, Heinrich der, of Alsace, - 47 

Göcking, L. H., poet (1748-1828), 171 
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, poet, 
dramatist, and philosopher (1749- 

1832), - - - 159, 184, 264 
Goethe's mode of study, from Vilmar, 283 
Golden Age, the, from Goethe'ß 

1 Tasso,' 163 

Gothic language, speeimen of, - 11 

Gottfried of Strasburg, romancist, 34 

Gotthelf, Jeremiah, writer of tales, 237 
Gottsched, Christoph, poet (1700-1766), 110 

Götz, versifier, - 112 

Graces, the, from Goethe's ' Tasso,' 163 

Graff, E. G., philologist, - - 282 

Gral-temple, description of, - 33 
Grammar of the German language, 

Grimm's, - 281 

Graves, early, from Klopstock's odes, 113 

Grecian art, from Winkelmann, - 124 

Grecian mythology, from Creuzer, 285 
Greece, society and the fine arts in, 

from Jacobs, - 287 
Gregory, bishop of Tours (595), histo- 
rian, ----- 15 
Greifenson, Samuel, novelist, - 100 
Grimm, J. and W., critical writers, 281 
Gruneison, Karl, essayist, - 305 
Gryphius, Andreas, poet (1616-1664), 93,96 
Gryphius, Christian, poet (1669-1706), 94 
Guerike, H. E. F., ecclesiastical 

writer, 263 

Gundlung, Nicolaus, historian, - 103 
Günther, Christian, rhymester (1695- 

1723), 95 

Guttenberg, John, inventor of print- 

ing, 59 

Gymnastics, as a brauch of education, 299 

Hahn-Hahn, Countess, novelist, - 23C 




Haller, Albrccht Von, poct and 

essayist (1708-1777), - 111, 118 

Hamann, J. George, philosophieal 

writer (1730-1788), - - - 153 
Hammer-Purgstall, the Orientalist, 262 
Hanke, Henriette, novelist, - - 236 
Hardenberg, F., writer of fiction, 211 
Haring, George, writer of fiction, 236 
Hartmann, author of ' Poor Henry,' 38 
Hauff, Wilhelm, writer of fiction, 235 
Hausen, Friedrich Von, lyric poet, 39 
Hebel, J. Peter, writer of tales, - 237 
Heeren, Arnold, historical writer, 249 
Hegel, G. W. F., philosophieal writer, 268 
Heinrich von Veldekin, romancist 

(1184-1188), 36 

Heldenbuch (collection of heroic ie- 

gends), ----- 68 
Herder, J. Gottfried, poet and critic 

(1744-1803), - - - 158, 277 
Hermes, K. H., historian, - - 248 
Herwegh, political song- writer, - 178 
Hippel, Theodor, novelist (1741-1796), 137 
Historical works, modern, - - 247 
History, ----- 247 
Hoffmann, Christian, dramatist, 97 
Hoffmann, political song-writer, - 178 
Hoffmann, Theodor, writer of fiction, 217 
Hoffmann, Wilhelm, historian, - 263 
Hölderlin, Friedrich, poet and no- 
velist (1770-1843), - - 172, 208 
Halm, political song-writer, - 180 
Holty, Ludwig, poet (1748-1776), - 115 
Horn, Franz, critical writer, - - 280 
Huber, Therese, novelist (1764-1829), 208 
Hugo of Trunberg, didactic writer, - 45 
Hullmann, historical writer, - 253 
Humboldt's, Alexander Von, travels 

and works, - 290 
Hutten, Ulrich Von, poet (1488-1523), 69 

, his Complaint, 78 

Hypothesis and Induction (Haller), 118 

Idealism, school of, 143 

Idler, the, from Rubener, - - 123 

Immermann, Karl, writer of fiction, 232 
Immortality, from Hermann Reima- 

rus, 143 

Indian Antiquities, by Lassen, - 296 
Indian wood-nymphs, from Lamprecht 's 

' Life of Alexander the Great,' - 36 

Indies, East, by Von Orlich, - 296 

Induction and Hypothesis (Haller), 118 

Iselin, Isaac, historian, - - 133 
Italians, the, from Leo's ' Italian 

Cities,' ----- 252 

Jaeobi, Friedrich, philosopher (1743- 

1819), 150 

Jacobs, Friedrich, novelist (1764), 208 

Jahn, Friedrich, - - - - 299 

Jerusalem, the storming of, in 1099, 257 

Jordanis (1550), historian, - - 15 

Journals, and other periodicals, - 312 

Jung, Heinrich, poet (1740-1817), 113, 135 








Kannitvcrstan, from Hebel 's tales, 238 
Kant, Immanuel, metaphysician 

(1724-1804), - - - 145 
Karseh, Anna Luise, poctess (1722- 


Kcmpis, Thomas ä, prose-writer, 
Kerner, Justinus, writer of fiction, 
Kleist, Ewald, poet (1715-1759), 
Kleist, Heinrich, dramatist (1777- 


Kleist, Heinrich, writer of tales, 
Klemm, Gustavus, historian, 
Klinger, M., dramatic poet (1753- 


Klopstock, F. Gottlieb, poet (1724- 


Klopstock and the barber, from 


Klumpp, F., on training, - 
Koenig, novelist, - 
Kohlrausch, F., historian, - 
Kolle, F., political writer (1781), - 
Körner, Theodor, poet (1791-1813), 
Körtum, Friedrich, historian, - 251,253 
Kotzebue, Augustus, dramatic writer 

(1761-1819), ... 193 

Kugler's History of Painting (1837), 289 
Kühne, novelist, - 236 

Lachmann, Karl, historian, - 249 
Ladies, German, from Vogelweide's 

lyrics, 41 

Lafontaine, Augustus, novelist, - 208 
Lament, a, from Vogelweide, - 40 
Lamprecht, biographer, 36 
Lassen's Indian Antiquities, - - 296 
Laube, novelist, - - - 236" 

Lavater, Caspar, poet and physiogno- 

mist, 113, 131 

Learning for life, from Herder, - 297 
Lehman, Christoph, historian, - 87 
Leibnitz, Gottfried Wilhelm (1646- 

1716), 107 

Leipsic book-fair, - 312 
Leo, Heinrich, historical writer, 251 
Lessing, Ephraim, dramatist and 

critic, 116 

Lichtenberg, George, prose - writer 

(1742-1799), 131 

Lichtenstein, travels of, in Africa, 296 
Lichtwer, minor poet, - - III 
Liebig, Dr Justus, chemical writer, 311 
Liegnitz, battle of ( Archenholtz), - 255 
Life, diffusion of (Humboldt), - 291 
Life, morning and evening of, from 

Richter's Tales, - - - 20O 

Lisco, F., Scriptural commentator, 274 
Literary history and criticism, - 276" 
Logic, works on, ... 268 
Löher, Friedrich, historian, - - 260 
Lohenstein, Daniel, dramatist, &c. 

(1638-1683), - 97, 101 

Lohmann, Friederike, writer of tales, 236 
Lottery-Ticket, the (Richter), - 204 
Luca Signorelli, from A. von Platen, 174 




I uther, Martin, theologian (1483-1546), 64 

, bis preface to Esop's 

Fables, 75 

Lyrical poetry from 1150 to 1300, - 38 

Mädler, Dr, the astronomer, - - 311 
Magazines and reviews, - 312 
Magnetism, animal, writings on, 305 
Mailath, J. Von, historical writer, - 260 
Mankind, Iselin's history of, - 133 
Man without a shadow, the, from 

Chamisso, ... - 229 
Manuel, Niclaus (1484-1530), - - 79 
Martius, P. Von, traveller and bota- 
nist, 293 

Mascou, Dr J. Jacob, historian, - 134 
Matbesius, Jobann, prose - writer 

(1597), - - - - - 88 

Matthison, Friedrieb, poet (1761- 

1831), ----- 171 
May-day, by Count Conrad of Kirch- 
berg, ---„-- 41 
Meditation, a, from Vogelweide, - 40 
Meinholdt, Wilhelm, writer of fic- 

tion, 237 

Mendelssohn, Moses, philosopher 

(1729), 149 

Mental Science, 268 
Menzel, AVolfgang, historian, 254, 281 
Mesmerism, writers on, - - 305 
Metaphysical school of Kant, - - 146 
Metaphysical works, - - - 268 
Middle ages, cities of, by Hullmann, 253 
Middle ages, history of, by Kortüm, 253 
Minnelieder, or short lyrics, - 38 
Minnesingers, the, 38 
Monk, the Noisy, from Wickram, 82 
Moral actions, our estimate of, from 

Kant, 147 

Moral impressions, primary (F. Ja- 

cobi), 151 

Moscherosch, Hans Michael, no- 

velist (1669), - - - - 100 
Moser, Justus, essayist, and tale- 

writer (1720-1794), - - - 134 
Moser, Karl Von, political writer 

(1723-1798), 129 

Mosheim, Johann, historian (1694- 

1755), 143 

Mülder, G. J., chemist, - - 312 
Müller Friedrich, writer of fiction, 199 
Müller, Johann, historian, - 248 
MüUer, Karl Ottfried, philologist, 285 
Munster, Sebastian, cosmographer, 87 
Murner, Thomas, satirical writer 

(1475-1536), 68 

Musaeus, Johann, tale-writer (1735- 

1787), 134 

Music, works on, .... 289 
My imprisonment, from Schubart's 

autobiography, - - - 139 
Mystic works, .... 305 
Mythology, German, Grimm 's, - 281 

Nature, constancy of, from Schiller, 169 


Naubert, Benedicte, writer of fiction, 208 
Neander, J. W., theological writer, 274 
Neukirch, Benjamin, poet (1665-1729), 95 
Nibelungen-Lied, the, - 18-31 
Niclas, prose-writer (1460-1480), - 58 
Nicolai, C. Friedrich, novelist (1733- 

1811), Hl 
Niebuhr, Barthold, historian, - 249 
Niebuhr, C, traveller, - - 290 
Nithart, lyric poet (1426), - - 39 
Norwegian homestead, a, from 

Steffens, .... 226 
Novalis (F. Hardenberg^, fictions of, 211 
Novels and romances, modern, - 190 

OEcolampadius, theologian (1482-1531), 67 
Oehlenschleger, dramatic writer, 194 
Olearius, Adam, prose-writer (1600- 

1671), 107 

Olhausen, Dr, Scriptural commen- 

tator, 275 

Opitz, Martin, versifier, &c. (1597- 

1639), 92, 100 

Orlich's travels in the East Indies, 296 
Oswald von Wolkenstein, minstrel, 54 
Otfried, writer in the First Period, 16 

Paalzow, Auguste Von, novelist, 236 
Painting and poetry, from Winkel- 
mann, ----- 127 
Painting, Kugler's history of, - 289 
Pallme, travels of, in Kordofan, - 296 
Paraeus, David, theologian (1584-1622), 67 
Parcival, romance of, - 34 
Parisian Student, the, from Bon er, 52 
Parson Amis, trial of, from Stricker 
Pauli, Johannes, prose-writer, &c. 
Periodical literature, 
Pestalozzi, J. H., - 
Pfeffel, minor poet, - 
Philology, to a Student of, by Niebuhr, 301 
Philosophical Systems of Germany, 266 
Philosophy, contempt of, from Men- 
delssohn, - - - - 150 
Physical sciences, ... 310 
Physiognomy, from Lichtenberg, 131 
Physiology, writers on, - - 312 
Pichler, Caroline, novelist, - - 208 
Platen, Augustus Von, poet (1796- 


Poetaster, advice to, from Riemer, 
Poetry and painting, from Winkel- 
mann, - 
Poetry and real life, from Goethe'a 

' Wilhelm Meister,' - - - 198 
Poetry, classic period of, - - 157 
Poetry, lyrical, from 1150 to 1300, 38 
Poetry, ... 68, 91, 110, 157 
Political Cyclopaedia (Rotteck and 

Welckert), 310 

Political writers, - - - 306 
Poppig, Edward, travels of, - - 295 
Populär legends, or Volksbücher, 239 
Predictions, astrological, from Fis- 
chart, 81 









Press, freedom ofthe (Gentz), - 309 
Princes, the vault of, from Schubart, 114 
Prutz, dramatic writer, - - 194 

Rabener, Gottlieb, satirist (1714-1771), 
Ramler, Karl, poet (1725-1798), 
Ranke, Leopold, historian, 
Rationalistic sehool, - 
Raumer, F., historieal writer, 
Redmantie, from Fouque, 
Reformation, histories of, - 
Regenbogen, rhymester, 
Rehfues, Philipp, writer of fiction, 
Rehm, Friedrich, historian, - 
Reimarus, Hermann, theologian (1694- 

1768), ----- 
Reinhard, F. V., theologian (1753- 


Rengger, J. R., travels of, 
Renner, Der (The Runner), satire of, 
Reproof, aneffectual, from J. Pauli, 
Reuchlin, Johann, philologist (1450), 
Reynard the Fox, fable of, 
Rhein, Friedrich, historian, 
Richter, Jean Paul, writer of fic- 
tion, 199, 

Riemer, Johann, prose-writer (1673); 
Ringwald, writer ofhymns, - 
Ritter, Karl, historieal writer, 
Roland, Young, from Unland, 
Romances of chivalry, 
Roman History, introduetion to (Nie- 
bahr), - - 
Romans, the, from Menzel 's ' Spirit of 


Rotteck, Karl, historian, 
Rubino, J., historian (1839), - 
Rückert, Friedrich, poet (1789), - 
Rudolphi, Caroline, educational 

writer, - 
Rüppel's Travels in Abyssinia, - 

Sachs, Hans, rhymester and drama- 

tist (1494-1576), - - - - 70, 73 
Sailer, J. M., theologian (1751-1832), 273 
Sancta Clara, Abraham, sermon- 

writer (1642-1709) - - - - 107 
Scandinavian legends, from H. Stef- 
fens, 225 

Schalling, writer ofhvmns, - - 72 
Schefer, Leopold, poet (1784), - 180, 232 
Schettler, Johann, hymn -writer (1624- 

1677), 94 

Schelling, F. W., philosophical writer, 267 
Schenkendorf, M., lyric poet (1783— 

1819), 178 

Schiller, Friedrich, poet (1759- 

1800) - - - - 164, 190, 257 
Schlegel, A. W., poet, - - - 171 

, bis critical writ- 

ings, ----- 278 

, Friedrich, poet, - - 172 

, his critical writ- 

ings, 278 

, Heinrich, dramatist, - 115 


Schlegel, Johann Elias, dramatist 

(1719-1749), ... - H5 
Schliermacher, F., theological writer, 273 
Schlosser, Friedrich, historieal writer, 248 
Seholars and mechanics, from Raumer,300 
Schöll, Adolphus, elassical Scholar, 286 
Schorn, Wilhelm, historieal writer, 249 
Schubart, Daniel, poet (1739-1791), 114, 139 
Schucking, writer of fiction, - - 237 
Schulze, Ernst, poet (1789-1817), 172 
Schupp, Balthasar, prose-writer ( 1610— 

1661), 103 

Schwab, Gustavus, ballad - writer 

(1792), 177 

, populär books of, 239 

Schwarz, educational writer, - - 303 
Scriptures, annotated editions of the, 275 

Scriver, Christian, theologian (1704). 
Sealsfield, Charles, novelist, 
Servetus, Michael, physician (1509), 
Seume, J. G., political writer, 
Seusze, Heinrich, prose-writer (1300- 


Sigwart, H. C, philosophical writer, 
Simplicissimus, tale of, from Grei- 

fenson, - 
Sleidanus, Johannes, annalist (1506- 


Social intercourse, from Tieck, 
Society in Germany, from 1 The 

World-Book ' of Sebastian Franck, 
Sölger, W., writer on aesthetics, 
Somnambulism, writers on, 
Spalatin, George, annalist (1482- 


Spee, Friedrich, hymn-writer (1595- 

1635), ----- 
Spener, Philip Jacob, theologian, 
Spindler, writer of fiction, 
Spittler, historieal writer, - 
Spix, J. Von, traveller and botanist, 
Stage, the German, - 
Steam, from Count Auersperg's 

poems, ----- 
Steffen's, Heinrich, miscellaneous 

writer, - 
Steigentesch, Augustus, tale-writer, 
Stifler, Adalbert, writer of fiction, 
Stilling, see Heinrich Jung, 
Strauss, David F., theologian, 
, Gerhard, writer of fiction, 




Stricker, didactic writer (1230), - 

Students, the Wandering, from Eich- 

Sturm, Christoph, prose-writer (1740), 139 

Sturz, Helfrich, miscellaneous writer 

Sublime, on the, from Kant's writ 

Suchenwirt, Peter, writer of verses, 

Sunday, from Bettina, 

Sunrise, from Goethe's Faust, 

Supreme intelligence, belief in, ex 
tract from Garve, 

Surrogate for soldiers, a i Kerner), 








Tasso, coronation of, from Goethe, - 185 
Tauler, Johann, prose-writer (1290- 

1361), 62 

Teaching, piain, for the people, - 43 
Teil, William, extract from Etterlin'a 
' Chroniele of the Swiss Confede- 

racy,' .... - 61 

Theatre, German, Prutz's history of, 194 

Theganus, biographer, - - 15 

Theology, 273 

Thermin, L. F., his sermons, - 274 
Thirty Years' War, the, Sehiller's his- 

tory of, 257 

Tholuck, Friedrich, theologian, - 274 

Tieck, Ludwig, writer of fiction, - 209 
Tiede, Johann, religious writer (1732— 

1795), -.- --- U5 

Tiedge, Christoph, poet (1752-1841) - 113 
Tirkler, Thomas, didaetic writer 

(1216), ----- 43 
Tobias Witt's philosophy, from En- 
gel 's tales, - - - - 137 
Trade, Hoffmann's history of, - - 263 
Travels and Voyages, - 290 
Tschudi, JEgid, historian (1505-1572), 87 

, J. Von, travels of, - 295 

Turmayr, Johann, historian, - 83 

Uhland, Ludwig, poet and critical 

writer (1787), - - - 175, 281 

Ullman, Karl, theologian, - - 274 

Ulphilas, Bishop (310-388), - - 10 

Usteri, Martin, poet, - - - 115 

Utopia, a poet's, from Rückert, - 172 

Vain Studies, from Jung (Stilling), 135 

Vehse, Karl, historian, - - 248 
Veldekin, Heinrich Von, romancist 

(1184-1188), ----- 36 

Versifying clubs of the 1 5th Century, 55 
Vilmar, A. F. C, critical writer, 283, 284 
Vogelweide, Walter von der, lyric 

poet (1170-1227), - 39 

Vogt, Karl, physiologist, - - 312 

Volksbücher, or Populär Legends, 239 

Voss, J. Heinrich, poet (1751-1826), 170 

Voyages and travels, - - - 290 


Wachsmuth, W., historian, - 264, 2fc6 
Wagenheini, K., miscellaneous writer, 305 
Wagner, Ernst, writer of fiction, - 208 
Waldis, Burkard, writer of fables, 72 
Waller, the sentimentalist, from Bren- 
tano, 212 

Weil, G., historical writer, - - 262 
Weise, Christian, dramatist, - - 97 
Weisse, Christian Felix, dramatist 

(1726-0805), 116 
Welt, Die, (The World) Striekels - 45 
Werner, Zacharias, dramatist, - 194 
Wessel, Johann, philologist (1419— 

1489) 63 

Wette, Wilhelm De, theologian, - 274 
Wickram, George, miscellaneous 

writer, 81 

Wieland, C. Martin, novelist (1733- 

1813), !42 

Wilkin, Friedrich, historian, - 253 
Winkelmann, Johann, critical writer 

(1717-1768), ... - ]23 
Winsbeke, Der, extract from, - - 43 
Wirnt, author of ' Der Winsbeke,' 42 
Wisdom, practical, from Leibnitz, 107 
Wish, my, from Salomon Gessner, 129 
Witches, trials and executions of, 

from Soldan, 263 
Wolf. Christian, prose-writer (1679— 

1759) , 117 

Wolf, F. A., philologist, - - 284 
Wolfram of Eschenbach, romancist, 34 
Woltmann , KarlVon , historical writer , 257 
Wurzburg, Konrad Von, romancist 

(1287), 36 

Young Roland, from Uhland, - 175 

Zachariä, K. , political writer, - 308 
Zimmermann, Johann (1728-1793), 129 
Zinzcndorf, Count, prose-writer (1700- 

1760) , ----- 117 
Zschokke, Heinrich, miscellaneous 

writer ,(1771-1847), - - - 209, 265 
Zumpt, C. G., linguist and gramma- 

rian, 286 

Zwingle, Ulrich, theologian (1487), 79 


Edinburgh : W. and R. Chambers.